Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Gunny Weekend!

My Class 3 dealer, good buddy Alan Samuel, notified me yesterday that my Serbu Super Shorty 12-gauge, built on a Remington 870, has arrived! The Serbu is an AOW, Any Other Weapon, so it's a $5 trwansfer. I figure I've got another month or two for all my paperwork to clear before I can pick up the gun.

Just for the heck of it, later this year, I'm putting together a one-day "Sawed-Off Shotgun Operator" class to fil. Short-barreled pistol-gripped shotguns aren't taken that seriously except in very specific roles, such as breaching or close-in executive protection.

I'm interested in putting together a class that explores what the short shotgun can do. I figure I'll open it up to a few people — we'll have shorties and regular pistol-grip shotguns, probably Mossbergs, which I like in the pistol-grip configuration. Not sure who'll be instructing...I've talked to Bill Murphy, who is IMHO the best shotgun man in the country. If Bill doesn't want to do it, I might approach Al Clark, who was a master of the 870 for the SEALS and now hoas his own training operation. Watch DOWN RANGE for the announcement of when and where.

An interesting firearms trend I wouldn't have expected...the rise of small frame 1911 9mms.

I just got a mailing from STI International that they'll have their Rogue, an intsy-bitsy 9mm 1911, available at SHOT. Here's the spec:
With the Rogue, STI International delivers a compact 1911 pistol with an overall length of only 6½“. This is our lightest pistol yet, weighing about 21 oz.

The Rogue’s “slenderized” classic slide has traditional styling and rear cocking serrations, STI oversized ejection port, and integral sights. The Rogue is built on a forged aluminum STI “LS” sized frame with a stippled front strap. The grip includes a flat checkered polymer mainspring housing configured to provide excellent retention. The controls are an STI singled sided blued thumb safety and a “bobbed” STI high rise blued knuckle relief beavertail grip safety. The barrel is a 3.0” fully supported STI ramped modified cone barrel. The Rogue comes standard with an STI RecoilMaster guide rod system, LS style hammer, and patented STI International trigger system.

The Rogue is standard in 9mm.
This is the aluminum-framed, shorter barreled version of the STI LS system that I've been talking about for almost a decade. The STI LS 9mm is one of the best little carry guns ever made. I carried a customized LS (from Dane Burns) for years, usually in an Alessi IWB. It's a great little gun — flat as a pancake — but at 28 ounces, a bit portly.

What's interesting to me is that when I started carrying the LS9 (as opposed to the LS.40 in .40 S&W), it raised a few eyebrows. Who carried a 9mm when he or she could carry a .40 or a .45?

How things change! There's been a general acknowledgment that ammunition technology has narrowed the difference between the 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP. Sure, the .45 will always reign supreme, but the 9mm is aways going to be easier to shoot, which means faster repeat shots. In the past few months, both Walt Rauch and Dave Spalding, IMO the Gold Standard for thoughtful modern gunwriting, have expressed their willingness to move from a .45-centric universe to a 9mm. Writing in the current issue of Combat Handguns, Spalding writes:
Let's be honest, a bigger bullet is a better bullet; this is somthing that's hard to dispute. But with a heavier, larger bullet comes more recoil impulse, which is something that is detrimental for many shooter. I happen to like the 9mm and have no problem carrying it for personal defense, but I am first to admit I want the best bullet I can get in the chamber. Furthermore, the 9mm is more cost effective to train with, which is something that cannot be ignored. remember the whole shot placement/practice thing?
Obviously, we've had 9mm 1911s available since the Dawn of Time, including lightweight Commanders in nine. The drawback was, of course, that the damn things didn't run without a lot of custom — read, expensive — massaging. Walt has a wonderful custom 1911 9mm, I believe from Armand Swenson, that is a joy to shoot.

Starting with the Springfield EMP, a 1911 single action sized specifically for 9mm-length cartridges, and followed quickly by the superb Para USA Carry 9mm, an 8 + 1 9mm featuring the super-slick Para LDA (light double action) system with full (if smaller) 1911 ergonomics and the higher capacity, 12 + 1 Hawg 9mm, hand-sized 9mms with the familiar 1911 ergonomics were suddenly the concealed carry choice de jour. Kimber has joined the fray with their Aegis line of 9mm 3-inchers, madein their custom shop anjd avaiable in various flavors.

I think this is a great trend! After all those years of competing with a 1911, John Browning's classic design will always feel more comfortable in my hands. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm looking forward to shooting some USPSA Single Stack matches this fact, I'm signed up for the Single Stack Classic, the SS Nationals and Dick Heinie's signature match, in April (I'm shooting on Friday if anyone would like to join me). I'm also on board for what may be the coolest of cowboy matches, the very first Wild Bunch match the weekend before End of Trail in mid-June...instead of single action revolvers, Wild Bunch matches — based on the classic Peckinpah "Wild Bunch" movie — allow 1911s along with heavy caliber lever action rifles and 12-gauge Winchester '97 pumps in military "Trench Gun" guise. Yee-haw! The only thing better would be if they'd allow semi Thompsons as the rifles, but you can't have everything I suppose!

I bring all this 1911 competition stuff up because I made the decision to switch my main carry gun from the Sig Sauer P225/P1 I've been carrying for a couple of years back to the STI LS9. I'm considering a switch from the LS9 to the Para Carry 9 (like the one pictured above), which you've heard me rave about on several posts and podcasts. You can see Carry 9 video on DOWN the video and you'll see why I'm crazy about the gun!

I've shot the LDA system a lot and don't have any trouble shifting between the LDA and a tradition single action, and I'd prefer the LDA system for times when I off-body carry. I strongly consider you consider one of the new mini-9mm 1911s as a carry option, especially if you have small hands or are one of them women-types. Ammo is not going to get any cheaper, which means it will play a bigger and bigger factor.

In my 9mm carry guns, I carry 124-grain Hornady TAPS; I'm also perfectly happy with the Cor-Bon 125-grain 9mm +P. I wouldn't be uncomfortable with any of the premium American manufacturers' 124/125-grain JHP self-defense loadings. I also carry a spare magazine of older IMI 9mm black-tip carbine ammo (which is effectively a +P+ round and no longer can occasionally find some on the auction sites) because it is extremely penetrative against auto window glass and door panels — I did my own tests years ago. An alternative would be to carry a spare magazine of 9mm ball...some of the European ball has a reputation for being pretty hot. The rationale for this is for civilian purposes, you're unlikely to use all the rounds in your primary magazine anyway, and you'll be carrying antipersonnel rounds in that primary. If you have to go to the second magazine, the situation has gone 'way south, and you may indeed need to shoot through something, hence the ball ammo.


Anonymous said...

I have the 1911 inspired Star Firestar in 9mm that I sometimes carry IWB in a Don Hume. The gun is heavy as a brick, has an atrocious trigger, but is one of the few guns I own that has been 100% out of the box.

Overload in Colorado said...

I don't believe this follows through to FMJ military rounds. If I was forced to use ball ammo (as I would if I were in an Army), I'd still want a 45acp over 9mm.

Anonymous said...

So you're considering a switch to the Para Carry 9 as your main carry gun. Saw your demo and positive comments on the Carry 9 on Downrange TV. Question - since the Carry 9 is so small, will you retire your Taurus .38 snubby, and carry two identical Carry 9 pistols, in the style of a John Woo action hero? Or Morris Abraham "Two-Gun" Cohen?

Michael Bane said...

Whoa Woo!

What a cool idea!