It has been a busy year on all fronts. I owe everyone a SHOT 2018 update, which I will have shortly. I was pleased to talk to the Walther Rep. and get their program information! Unfortunately, I was told that the Gemtech program I was working on (and very close) was nix'd by now parent company S&W.
I have inquired about S&W (regular program) but not received anything current yet (updated: 3/21 - Ruger is now available).
This year will be a challenge to us all I think, those involved in the industry, as instructors, and as enthusiasts. I want to thank everyone that has helped and passed on the instructor information and for everyone that is helping keep our sport alive and legal.
And speaking of SHOT Show 2018 - I am pleased to announce that I will be there!
If you have any requests for booths for me to visit, questions to ask, pics please let me know.
P.S. I get asked every year. Only people who actively contribute articles to the shooting sports (like this Blog) are eligible to attend.
I invite folks to contribute - NSSF evaluates the Blog every year and the authors for content.
had received an email from Walther that they were announcing a new pistols at SHOT Show 2018, but it appears that the cat is out of the bag.
It is a subcompact version of the Walther PPQ. It looks strikingly similar to the HK VP9SK however, has a normal (to most folks) mag release.
The PPQ's are under-rated in my opinion, but I do have to say that I am a big fan of the VP9SK. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against it:
I have not delved into the details yet but the U.S. has passed National CCW Reciprocity!
Here is a news "article" that clearly where the author cannot contain his vitriol. He also can contain his lack of knowledge about firearms. I am still stunned by how LITTLE media reporters know about firearms and their COMPLETE unwillingness to learn even the simplest things.
Want to make your case against bump stocks? Maybe you should learn what one is. Still confused that it has nothing to do with an H-buffer? Anyway, I digress..
The headline alone is a give-away:
The U.S. Army Is Selling Some of Its Most Powerful Guns (and You Can Buy One)"
What's "one of its most powerful guns"? A 1911 pistol.
Yes, the 1911 pistol put into service.....around 1911.
Well, maybe the author worded it as click-bait and wanted to get click-money. Oh nope. The author clearly has some hate towards any person who potentially may want to purchase this piece of history:
"With 10,000 already transferred and 8,300 additional pistols “sold or disposed of,” per Guns.com, that means there are at least 80,000 1911s ready and waiting for a nasty civilian to give them a good home."
WOW. So much for just reporting the "facts." With a 7-round mag I am surprised he didn't call it an "assault pistol."
Anyway, here is a link to the article followed by the text in case it disappears or you don't want to give him his click-money: https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-army-selling-most-powerful-013200617.html
The U.S. Army Is Selling Some of Its Most Powerful Guns (and You Can Buy One)
The .45 ACP M1911A1 pistol has served the U.S. armed forces for more than a century in every war zone and hotspot on the planet — and thanks to this year’s federal defense budget, it will serve civilians for the foreseeable future.
The $700 billion 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that Congress sent to President Donald Trump’s desk on Nov. 16 included an amendment that required the Secretary of the Army to transfer a cache of small arms and ammo “no longer actively issued for military service” to the government-sponsored Civilian Marksmanship Program, including the M1911 and M1911A1 pistols, the M–1 Garand, and .22 rimfire rifles.
The 1911 semiautomatic pistol, invented by legendary firearms inventor John Moses Browning, proved extremely reliable in the hands of American Expeditionary Forces during the opening years of World War I. According to the National Interest, Army Sergeant Alvin C. York neutralized six German soldiers who charged him with fixed bayonets using nothing but his 1911, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor and heroism.
Although the 1911A1 variant that emerged in the U.S. after WWI was phased out of regular military service in favor of the Beretta 92 pistol (aka the M9) starting in 1985, its power persists. The Marine Corps ordered 12,000 M45A1 Close Quarter Battle Pistols, a 1911-modeled firearm from Colt Defense in 2014; the pistols went to MARSOC Raiders, with a handful going to special operations-capable Marine Expeditionary Units.
The last transfer of 1911s to the CMP was in 2015, when President Barack Obama signed a defense bill that included a measure to transfer 10,000 pistols for sale to the program; lawmakers had stated that May that the DoD spends $2 a year to store each of its 100,000 surplus 1911s. With 10,000 already transferred and 8,300 additional pistols “sold or disposed of,” per Guns.com, that means there are at least 80,000 1911s ready and waiting for a nasty civilian to give them a good home.
Jared Keller is a senior editor at Task & Purpose and contributing editor at Pacific Standard.
All of the recent hoopla about the SIG P320 potentially firing when dropped reminded me that I had a well-used 1911 in the safe that every once and a while will drop the hammer to half-cock when the slide is racked, particularly on an empty chamber.
Let's get a few things out the way first --
1. No this is not indicative of 1911s in general or even a particular brand. It was actually my first and served a number of years as a 45 Super (with designer Ace Hindman's help - may he RIP). It was in the process of being upgraded from being VERY well used.
2. Yes, I know that it is very hard on a pistol to drop the slide on an empty chamber. In particular, it is frowned on in the 1911 world. Regardless, it should not fire.
Ok, back to the pistol. I had done a number of upgrades a few years back: sear, disconnector, hammer and trigger. However, the trigger I selected was a 1991 trigger. I chose it because I like the way that it looked, liked how it worked in my Colt's and I knew it would drop in. It turns out that it was not a good choice.
As you may have guessed it on occasion dropped to half-cock even after a new and mildly adjusted sear spring. Ok, to be fair, I probably could have really tweaked the leaf spring so that it didn't but I also didn't want a terrible trigger pull.
I ordered a Wilson ultra-light trigger. Why? Because it is a Wilson part, it said "ultra-light" and listed the actual weight. I couldn't find the weight of any of the other triggers I looked at. The theory was that trigger slap - movement actually was activating the hammer.
Disassembly revealed that the trigger was RIDICULOUSLY loose in the pistol. I mean up, down, forward, back. This was DEFINITELY the issue.
Now, with my new Wilson trigger I found that it did not fit in like a modern "modular" (aka mass produced pistol) lol. Let's be honest there is nothing on a Glock that will take more than a few minutes to replace. Fitting? Nah, 100rds on the range will do that.
But, like a traditional 1911 part the new trigger did require some fitting. I set out with a small hand-file watching TV to fit it into the channel. OK, 2 hours later it would fit into the channel but definitely not move freely. I used the hand file for about another hour. After that I took out the rotary tool. Yes, impatient! But, it was getting late and I would not have time to work on it the next day before going to the range in the afternoon. And there was a downside to my impatience - the finish. Between being tired and probably whatever I was watching I did not do a great job of paying attention and did manage to scuff the nice matte finish of the trigger. Drat. Well, this is a working pistol, and I would rather have it work than not.
I took it to the range with me and Voila! The pistol had no issues and the trigger is still decent. A success and a very inexpensive fix!
Here is a pic, at some point I will probably take out the trigger and polish it. Until then, it works and function over form.
My first pistol. Originally purchased back in like 1990! It's seen a few rounds through it.
I'll start with the grand finale - the HK P9SK shoots amazingly straight and very comfortably!
From the first mag I was astounded at how accurately I was able to shoot it. My friend even looked over at a group and asked "How many shots was that, 3?" I replied "Nope, 5, it shoots that straight." He replied: "Let me try that thing." And he too was pleasantly surprised with the grouping.
I think I shoot it better than my Glock 43! It definitely is a lot more pleasant to shoot.
Of course, if you look at the dimensions, you see why. It is thicker, not only in the grip due to its double-stack frame, but also the slide. The VP9SK also weighs about 5oz heavier - unloaded. I didn't take it apart to see if there was anything special in it, but it definitely shoots more pleasantly than say an M&P Compact. The trigger is better than both the Glock 43 and M&P 9c.
There a coupe of things that I should point out.
First, the slide lock is low and long. I found myself accidentally hitting it with my thumb, causing the slide not to lock back a couple of times. This is a training/practice issue. I personally prefer them to be small and out of the way, but I know that others do not.
Second, the mag release it not traditional "U.S. Style" meaning that it is located on the side and activated by your strong thumb. I actually don't mind this as prefer them to be out of the way also, but it is definitely not what I am used to and unlike all of my other pistols, except the Walther.
So, in summary, I do not think that the VP9SK is in the same deep concealment class as say the Glock 43. It is also considerably more expensive. The 43 with MagnaPorting is still less.
However, I think that accuracy is paramount and HK has a winner. Its shootability and accuracy out of the box in this size/weight class is something of an anomaly and I want one. HK needs to come up with an instructor program!
Glock 43 vs HK VP9SK
Glock 43 with Taran +1 baseplate vs HK P9SK. The HK is still noticeably longer and wider.
I am very excited that my HiPower 40 to 9mm conversion is now complete! I am also very pleased to say that it runs all 9mm ammo without a hiccup and without changing a thing! That took some work.
It will now run the weakest of off-the-shelf cheap ammo (which I can't say the same for my Glock 19c) all the way up to +P+!! Shooting 9BPLE out of it is like shooting 380!
It is interesting to note that when I started the project 9BPLE was about $10/box. It shot up to $20 and $30 when it disappeared. It, however, can be had again for as low as $14.95. A bargain I think!
I will detail what was involved getting it to run and redo the whole project in a later post (it's sporadically spread throughout the blog now) but for now, here is the pic of the final pistol which I spent about 10 years to actually complete.
I also want to thank and say RIP Stephen Camp whose advice and help on the project was indispensable -- who also, continued to ask me "But, why?" the whole time LOL.
Here is an obligatory pic. I think it turned out nice!
I was excited when I was invited to do an evaluation of the MantisX (www.mantisx.com) training system. I think that one of the best things that an instructor can do during living fire is to literally stand behind the shooter while they shoot and watch their front sight. Once you gauge what the shooter is doing you can then examine what is contributing to any movement. It is something very hard, if not impossible, for a new shooter to do on their own.
In a nutshell, the MantisX is an accelerometer that tracks vertical and horizontal motion. The shooter attaches the Mantis to their pistol rail. It is partnered with its shooting app that compiles the results from the convenience of your iOS or Android phone! You can view the results per shot or after a string of shots, such as a grouping, mag, target, etc.. The Mantis allows a shooter to practice without the need of having that additional person “spot” for them. I feel, and hope, that this will encourage people to shoot more. I know that, for at least me, it could potentially allow for a more productive range session – especially since most people (like me) are short on time.
I got my Mantis and after quickly skimming the instructions I attached it to a Glock.
Attaching the Mantis is simple as it is designed for railed pistols. The unit separates in half and clamps on the rail. There is a screw that goes through the device and locks in place going through a rail notch. I was pleased to see that it came with not only a flat-head screw but also one that has knurled knob so that you can finger tighten it. Why two? I am not sure, but I tried both and didn't see a difference. To be fair it was a while before I noticed the knurled and found myself using at first a bottle opener to take it on and off and then later a screwdriver. The knurled knob is tool-less and much easier to use.
I wanted to try the Mantis in dry-fire mode before hitting the range. This is something that anyone can do anywhere or anytime to get used to a trigger. I downloaded the app to my iPhone via the AppStore. I assume the Android version is in the Google Play.
When you run the app it asks you turn on Bluetooth if it is not on. What is interesting is that it does not require traditional Bluetooth pairing, it just finds the device. This is nice and time-saving if you have ever had to fuss to sync and setup a device. Mantis then asks you leave the device on a non-moving table for a few seconds while it calibrates. It is then ready to use!
You do have to start/stop your shot groupings for the results (especially averages). I usually do shot groups of 5 and then check the target. I found that sometimes I forgot to stop and then start for the next batch.
I was impressed at how well the app worked, especially its presentation – it looks and behaves very professionally. This is no app that somebody threw together.
My favorite screen is a bulls-eye that onscreen shows where impact would be and the actual travel of the pistol. The tracing is very interesting. I have some detail shots later where you can see the pistols I know are fairly steady and those I don’t, well, are all over the place. More on that later.
During dry-firing I was pleased that it did not register any false shots even though I had to rack the slide every shot (I guess that is an argument for second strike capability). I was also surprised at how accurate it said I was – of course, dry fire and live fire are two different things! And now to the range with a few Glocks (19c, 23, 32, 30s).
To the range!
Unfortunately, I made a mistake that basically wasted this entire session. I neglected to change the app from “Dry Fire” to “Live Fire.”
The result? On average only 1 out of every 6 shots was picked up. It picked up even less with the 30s while the 19c did the best. I originally thought that it wasn’t working because I took the Mantis to the range straight out of the box without charging it. What it was able to register shots it did it well. Again, completely my fault.
I was a lot smarter this time and remembered to switch the Mantis into “live fire” mode. I even remembered to charge it the night before. I was time constrained however and only brought the 23, 32, and a 17 (hey, I like Glocks and they have rails).
I found that when switching the Mantis in between pistols or from dry-fire into live-fire mode it was best to turn the Mantis on/off. When I switched to live-fire, for some reason it still wasn’t picking up the shots. A quick reboot and all was well.
Cycling the power is done by holding the power button for a few seconds to turn off and then a quick click to turn it back on. The button is located on bottom of the device and accessible mounted. The button is a bit small. I found that I could kind of use my finger-nail but that a ball-point pen was perfect, especially when needing to hold the button in.
With any change (pistols, modes, etc.) it is best to cycle the app so that it re-syncs with the device.
The session results? They were perfect. The Mantis ran without a hitch on all 3 pistols and very similar to the dry-fire testing. To be fair, the midsize Glock is my CCW and I am very familiar with them.
When I dipped the muzzle or pulled a bit to the left firing (on purpose…yeah, that’s it!) the app clearly showed it with a graphical representation on the bulls-eye screen and even sometimes with helpful accompanying commentary. Example pictures of the app follow.
The targets mirrored the app. And that gave me pause. If an experienced shooter already knows what they did wrong by the time the bullet is in the air, and then can visually validate it on the target does the Mantis have limited value to them? Aside from its statistics is the Mantis something that should primarily geared towards only new shooters? Before you decide, read Session 3.
Thankfully, I had a lot more time this session.
Feeling confident that I am a decent (no means an expert) shooter I deliberately set out to try it with firearms that I do not normally shoot (I.E., not very good with) – traditional double-actions. I brought an FNX9 and a SIG P226 from the range (unfortunately no rails on my SIGs). I shot them exclusively in DA mode.
The P226 was great! I was off a little and the Mantis showed me that I was pulling the trigger to the left. A few mags later I was able to correct it so that the groupings were at at least tolerable.
The FNX? Wow. I am absolutely terrible with it. It is LNIB and my lack of shooting it showed. I feel confident that more range sessions and practice – with the Mantis definitely will help. But, I kind of want to trade my FNX in for a P226.
I also tried the Mantis with a Beretta APX and a CZ P10c (range pistols). It performed flawlessly. Both those pistols shoot straight, even in my hands. Unrelated, I have become a big fan of the CZ P10c.
The surprise of the shooting session came at the end. I had decided that since I still had little more time to retry the Glock 30s which was still in my range bag. It is a very recent acquisition and to be fair it has been about a decade since I have actively shot 45ACP (gasp). I am “normally” pretty good with it but not on this day. I was not as bad as with my FNX in DA mode but definitely not the nice grouping I was hoping for.
The surprise? The app indicated results completely contrary to what I saw on the target! (Pics follow) Shots that were high showed low were actually high! I am not quite sure what to make of it, but I am curious to what I was doing. I trust that the software is correct and I definitely will be taking it back to the range to figure out.
The Mantis is definitely not solely good for beginners. I don't claim by any means to be an expert but I am normally (except with the FNX) a fair shot. I am impressed with the device and will be using it more.
The product is top notch and professional. The packaging is quite eye-catching (not that it is important) and suitable for dropping into a range bag and bouncing around – a number of people at the range commented on the Pelican case that it comes in. More important is that the software and hardware clearly works with multiple pistol platforms and calibers without any problem. A bonus is that it works at home as a dry-fire training device. I think that they have a great product here and I look forward to running it some more. I will report back anything of interest.
And now the obligatory PICS!
Opening the box to reveal the MantisX box inside lol
The cool little Pelican Case that the Mantis comes in.
So, what's in the box? Missing from the pic is the little instruction booklet it came with.
The Mantis app settings page
I like Glocks. The Mantis worked with Gen3 and Gen4 Glocks once I set it to "live fire" mode and rebooted the device.
Mid-sized Glocks like me.
A little more information
The APX (top) and FNX (bottom)
The FNX does not love me. Note the "possible causes" that it lists.
My double-action "pull" LOL. Not good.
A few more informational "shots." These can be helpful. I did actually try to generate a few common ones.
Mantis on the CZ P10c.
Mantis on the 30s. Notice that a flat head screwdriver is needed if not using the knurled screw.
Mantis showed that my shots were low and to the left
To the left, but not actually low. Interesting.
Overall stats page
hmm...I am not exactly sure what this is telling me
The Mantis app also has a training mode. Find yourself consistently shooting in one area? Just click on the pie segment
And the app gives you some good advice
I am not sure how I got this, but I included it because the graph was so dramatic
For additional information on this MantisX product please visit: http://mantisx.com
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Someone may notice that I didn't include a pic of the SIG P226. Apparently, I neglected to take one.
Update 9/19: Settlement checks are being sent out.
Someone asked me if I knew the status of the EOTech class action lawsuit (Foster vs L-3 EOTech). The official website (http://www.fostersettlement.com/) has not been updated in a while and doesn't show the results of the final approval hearing on 7/7/2017.
In fact, website http://www.eotechlawsuit.com/ actually has more up to date information, including that the order was approved and actually has a copy of the order. So what happens next?
I emailed the law firm Heffler for more up to date information and received back:
"Thank you for your correspondence. On July 7th 2017 Final Approval of the Class Action Settlement was granted at the Final Fairness Hearing. Distribution will occur within 30 days of the class action’s effective date, August 7th 2017, barring an appeal of the final approval. Please visit fostersettlement.com for all updates on the case."