27 August 2010

Slice of Life: Friday Bonus Double Post; Gun Range w/ Foxtrot Uniform

Obviously with my newly received VA Non-Res CHP, I had to go to the gun range, and I did that last night with a good friend of mine, Foxtrot Uniform (he told me to use it, I swear).  With the cost of ammo lately, and now with my permit in hand, I wanted to closely examine if I had the best arm for carry duty. 

The first handgun I ever purchased was a 1911.  Something nostalgic and American about John Browning's design with your bugger hook on the bang switch, but as much as I love that arm, I never intend upon it to be much more than a pleasure / target gun.  So that necessitated picking up an 4" service model XD in .40 from a friend who was selling it about 4 years ago.  I've shot that gun plenty, but then the little birdy in my ear (read AKFan) has been telling me to ditch it for a 9mm Glock.  Having shot an old G21 when buying my 1911, I about wanted to shoot myself with the Glock 21.  I've been thinking of switching to an XD(m) in 9mm to compensate for the soon to be departure of the .40.  I listened to AKFan and test drove a Glock last night.  

After renting a Ruger LCR (Foxtrot Uniform wanted to give that one a run), a Glock 17 fourth gen, and a Beretta 92 (the latter two in 9mm), I have to say I'm done with the .40 game.  High pressure rounds mean recoil and harder second shot placements.  I used to be the kind of shooter who preferred more power at the expensive of sensible control, but as usual, AKFan has finally trained me to become a believer of doing things the "right way" versus the marginally harder way. 

The G17 was a dream to shoot for a service model and could quite potentially become my future carry gun.  Good, consistent trigger squeeze, with good break meant my first shot was dead center X on a full sized target.  Follow up shots for the 13 rounds at a reasonable combat pace yielded 2 "fliers" in the 8 ring at 10 yards.  I know I don't shoot often enough, but, the last time I shot my .40, I didn't have nearly that consistency.  Maybe part of it was me, but not having the gun practically jump out of your hands every shot means you can focus on pulling the trigger and getting back on target rather than re-grasping the gun. 

The 92 was also nice.  If I had to pick a handgun in 9mm to strap up for "duty" operation, I would seriously consider this one.  Being a DA/SA means the first shot (unless cocked and locked) is long and heavy, but it was consistently smooth as well.  In SA mode, the trigger was like a chem class glass rod snapping in two with short travel and reset.  I contend it may be better than my 1911.  If I didn't have to compromise and stick to a budget, there is the chance I'd be buying two new guns, but I don't have a need to be that spendy at the moment. 

In summary, a night at the range with a buddy is always good therapy.  Especially when you get to come home to a loving wife who wants to go out to dinner afterwords with her friends.  Hat tip to a gem of a chick who even ponied up for dinner and congrats to her and her new fiance on their engagement. 

Until next slice of life, keep the "front towards enemy." 

Slice of Life: Come Out Virginia!

On July 23rd, I mailed off my application for a non-resident Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit.  On Tuesday, August 24th, a shiny plastic card, too big to fit into any wallet slot was in my mailbox!  That's right, I am now licensed to carry in 26 states!  (Give or take the few that don't honor VA's non-resident permit).  

All told, the saga began about a year ago when I requested a non-resident packet.  I simply clicked on to the VSP website, searched around, find the necessary email to request the packet, and a few days later it was in my mailbox.  It sat in my important papers pile for the better part of a year until a month ago.  My parents had recently finished up a property in VA so it finally made sense to apply for the permit and "experiment" (if you can ever all carrying experimenting) with concealed carry.

The application was fairly painless.  It took me about a week to gather the necessary items, complete the application, get it notarized, get a money order, make photo copies of my driver's license and passport and hunters safety card (needed for proof of ID and competence with a firearm), as well as have my finger prints taken and get a passport photo taken.  Total costs were right at $114 broken down as follows:
  • License Fee, $100
  • Finger print fee, $5
  • Postage, $1.22ish
  • Passport photo, $7.45ish
  • Piece of mind and non-infringed rights for a period of 5 years?  Priceless!

Since I have not been back to Virginia this week (work happens to put a damper on that), I have yet to experience the liberating feeling of being able to exercise my Constitutionally guaranteed right to self-defense and arms bearing.  See, unlike my home state, I am surrounded by states that more liberally issue permits to those who are not otherwise disqualified, even to non-residents like myself.  Hopefully that will change with the Second Amendment Foundation's lawsuit against Maryland.

Though, most of my non-Maryland travels take me to the relatively peaceful portion of the Virginia Eastern Shore, just knowing that I will be able to defend myself and my family from here on out is a good piece of mind.  The prospects of that first experience of carrying are exciting and nerve racking, simply because with great power comes great responsibility.

Until the newest "gray man" checks back in after his first CCW experience, remember to keep your powder dry and your eyes on the target.