Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

Some comments on the little 1911 post reminded me about cautions for all of us in this spectacular "gun of the month" environment. Yes, it is the Golden Age of Handguns...any flavor you can think of is being sold by someone. The question was how did the Para USA Carry 9, a little 9mm LDA I liked from the first time I shot it (here's my 2008 review), hold up under regular use? The answer is, "Great," with a caveat.

With this flood of new guns has come the increasing phenomena of "orphaned" guns, e.g. manufacturers are quick to introduce new models, but they're equally quick to discontinue those that didn't meet the users' fancy. I figured the Carry 9 to be a hit, but it had two strikes against it. As a mini-9, it was about a year before its time. The mini-9 "revolution," spawned I believe by the flood of new people coming into the CCW market who purchased the little .380s and wanted to step up in caliber.

Secondly, Para was in the midst of a painful move from Canada to North Carolina...we didn't know just how painful until much later, and last year Para USA was purchased by Freedom Group. The Carry fact, all of the 9mm Paras with the exception of the full-sized single-action Limited, were pared from the line.

Short story, Para mags for the Carry 9 disappeared. Unfortunately, so did one of my 2 magazines that came with the gun...constant travel, packing and unpacking, range work, etc., can be hard on a gun and accessories, and somewhere between here and there I lost a mag. I discovered I couldn't replace it. The Para website doesn't list the extra mags as available for purchase, nor do any of the big Internet retailers who normally stock magazines (Midway USA, Brownell's, Cheaper Than Dirt, CDNN, J&G, etc.).

I recently found out Check-Mate mags did a run of 7-rounders, and I'm waiting to see if I can pick off half-a-dozen, which would allow me to put the little Carry 9 back in service.

I was also reminded about the Star PD, the first lightweight 1911 that worked well (unless you shot it to pieces...never a multi-thousand round gun). I carried a Star PD for a long time. I kept the Star after I moved on to other carry guns in 9mm because it's a neat little gun to shoot. I didn't shoot it because it has a recoil buffer system to protect the aluminum frame, and the buffer deteriorates. No more Star; no more buffers.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that buffers are now once again available — you gotta love American ingenuity! I ordered some in case I ever have this overwhelming urge to shoot the little .45 never knows, does one?

So I guess the short story is when you buy a gun, especially an eclectic gun, for CCW and, after a test period, decide you really like it, buy extra mags and whatever parts of the gun that are "consumables," especially anything made of plastic, etc. Notice that I'm not saying don't buy such a gun...yes, there will probably be 1911, Glock and S&W revolver parts being dug up by alien races performing the archeological autopsy on the Late Great Planet Earth, but if you carefully plan — certainly plan better than me! — you ought to keep anything running pretty much forever. Or at least until the home fabrication machines become readily available and as cheap as iPads.

Also, note that just because I like something doesn't mean that it will be a success! LOL!


Anonymous said...

There is a reason that in biology stuff comes in pairs. Eyes, kidneys, arms, legs, cojones, etc. Built in redundancy. In case of failure, you have another. Only buy guns in two's or three's. Magazines in even dozens. That should help the economy.

Miguel said...

My motto: Never buy anything on its first year of production.
It could be guns or electronics or appliances. Wait to see if they have a second year and if they fixed any kinks it may have.

Damocles said...

It can even happen after years of production. I once fell in love with the idea of Dan Wesson revolvers and interchangeable barrels thanks to a deputy chief I worked for who carried one. I eventually traded something for one in .357 with a 2.5 inch barrel installed and a spare 4" barrel, but failed to get the barrel tool because the owner did not have it. I figured I could locate and purchase one, directly from the manufacturer if need be. Turned out the company was going through its first or second upheaval the tool was on “backorder” (read no longer made) and, if I could find one, it cost more than the whole rigs value. I eventually traded it away for something else.

I still have my share of carry guns that high-speed low-drag carry experts look at askance and mutter derisively about my parentage and choice in tools. Some of them tell me I’m an idiot for my choice. So be it. If I carry it, I have run it enough to know it, and trust it.

The Duck said...

Have you perhaps checked to see if the Springfield EMP magazine will fit?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Star Firestar. My 9mm has been great. Mags are hard to come back (Promags are available, but they are garbage).

Dan said...

When I bought my S&W 940 9mm Centennial snub years ago, it came with two full moon clips. I immediately ordered 4 boxes of 4 clips each from S&W. I have only opened one box so I could have a bunch of loaded clips at the range. I should be set for my lifetime. The spring steel clips are nearly indestructible.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I know what you all mean when you warn about obsolete gun parts. I'm having trouble finding good flints for my flintlock rifles now! At least I have been successful making hammer springs for them out of an an old leaf taken from a Studebaker truck spring. I have enough steel to make about a hundred, or so springs. But that put my truck out of service. So I lashed a green log in where the spring used to be . It rides a little hard now and I'm worried that it will ride too rough when the wood dries out completely. I'm workin' on a solution to that now. The guns shoot good though. I got a nice doe with my .54.

Stay inventive and resourceful.

Life Member, Older than Dirt!

"gunner" said...

this is why i mainly stick with common military pistols, the m1911a1, sig p220 and p226, particularly the m1911a1. long after i've gone someone will still be making parts for it, and i've got a .50 cal ammo box of magazines, and several large cans of brass to reload, more than i can shoot in what's left of my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, but Mike, yer killin' me with.the UNREADABLE, YELLOW PRINT!!! It doan' _work_ on a white background, dude! Got nuthin' but luv fo ya, Bro! JohninMd(help?)

Anonymous said...

Michael, great post. I always felt you should have 5 magazines for a pistol so I buy 10. That way I know I should have 5. I also learned to buy them as soon as possible because you never know what will happen to the supply. I bought one of the Sig P6s (225) when they were dumped on the market and garnered a dozen mags. My buddy didn't and now he regrets the fact they will cost him twice as much.

The PD is a favorite of mine and gets treated with care and respect. I stocked up on buffers and even bought a supply of the new ones, way more than the gun will last. Same for the plastic buffer on the H&K P9s, just wish I had bought a set of front sights. Fortunately Wolfe makes springs for most so it isn't hard to cover that base. Add an extractor, ejector and firing pin and you can probably keep most of these jewels running for longer than you care.

I have a simple spread sheet with the specs on my carry pistols and every time a new wondergun of the month comes out, I compare them to what I have. Saves me a bunch of money since I don't have to chase that wheel as it comes around again.


George said...

Thank you for following up on my question. I guess this cautionary tale would also apply to owners of the Kimber Solo, S&W Shield, Ruger LC9, etc.

I owned a Carry 9 for awhile and had 4 magazines. But I sold the gun to get something else; everyone knows that story.

Now if you'll answer my question about the classic Bulldog vs. the modern Bulldog, I'll be set. :-)


nj_larry said...

Obviously MB you need to do a show from Pakistan where the main industry is working on 100 year old orphaned guns !!! Saw this documentary a couple of years ago and it is a hoot !

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