Do you have a specific procedure for testing a pistol?

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Thread: Do you have a specific procedure for testing a pistol?

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    Senior Member Array Luis50's Avatar
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    Do you have a specific procedure for testing a pistol?

    If you are in the market for a new edc pistol, do you have a predetermined set of tests you run it through at the range?
    Luis

    "Everybody's got a plan, 'til they get hit".

    Mike Tyson

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    Distinguished Member Array pirate's Avatar
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    It is wise to run a couple hundred rounds of ball as a breakin for any CCW handgun then just load it up with the defensive ammo you plan to use and shoot it to insure relaiblity with your carry ammo. Not too complex.
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    Senior Member Array Luis50's Avatar
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    My question was a little unclear.

    If you don't own the gun yet...you borrowed or rented it...it's the first range session with it. Do you have a predetermined set of tests you run it and yourself through? One example may be, how does it feel grip and recoil wise in your off/weak hand.
    Luis

    "Everybody's got a plan, 'til they get hit".

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    I wouldn't call how it "feels" in either hand a "test." It either feels good or not.

    I'm not much into "off-hand" shooting, but if that was a consideration, I'd compare the location of controls (safety, mag relaese, etc.) for both hands. Some pistols have ambi controls (useable by left or right handers as is) while some have reversible controls (such as the Gen 4 Glock reversible mag release) that can be set up for either hand. That is more suitable for LHers rather than either hand.

    Some pistols may naturally "point" better in your hand than others. Many claim Glocks point high for them. I admit they point different than others to me, but it's just different, not "wrong." It's no different than driving an automatic versus a straight drive. It's only an adjustment.

    Like most things, you need to "learn" to shoot any firearm properly. No two feel the same, point the same, function the same. That's why reliability of the gun itself is more important.
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    VIP Member Array ctsketch's Avatar
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    If it has a safety can I thumb it?

    It it has a release can I press it? How about the slide lock? Can I reach them.

    If it has a hammer and is DA/SA Can I thumb it just in case I desire to?

    How far do my fingers wrap around the grip? is my pinky on the grip? Is the grip natural to me?

    What is the weight distribution?
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I wouldn't call how it "feels" in either hand a "test." It either feels good or not.

    I'm not much into "off-hand" shooting, but if that was a consideration, I'd compare the location of controls (safety, mag relaese, etc.) for both hands. Some pistols have ambi controls (useable by left or right handers as is) while some have reversible controls (such as the Gen 4 Glock reversible mag release) that can be set up for either hand. That is more suitable for LHers rather than either hand.

    Some pistols may naturally "point" better in your hand than others. Many claim Glocks point high for them. I admit they point different than others to me, but it's just different, not "wrong." It's no different than driving an automatic versus a straight drive. It's only an adjustment.

    Like most things, you need to "learn" to shoot any firearm properly. No two feel the same, point the same, function the same. That's why reliability of the gun itself is more important.
    I don't much buy into this one either. A lot is made of how a gun "feels" when making a selection. Balancing the thing in one's hand at the gun shop counter gives the potential buyer about as much insight as sitting behind the wheel of an automobile in a new car showroom imparts about that vehicle's serviceability. Yet, so many purchase decisions are made after some vague balancing/waiving around of various handgun models. Spend very much time in a gun shop or at a gun show and you will often see such a selection process. Many times these same handguns are later traded away as being "not right" after a very few boxes of ammunition were fired through them. Their owners never took the time to learn to shoot them well. Perhaps the owners never took the time to learn to shoot anything well. The handgun that no longer "feels right" becomes a handy scapegoat for poor shooting.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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  8. #7
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luis50 View Post
    If you are in the market for a new edc pistol, do you have a predetermined set of tests you run it through at the range?
    More or less, yes. With each and every pistol I've ever put into play as an everyday carry unit, I have run 500+ rounds through it before considering it for carry. In only two instances have guns performed nearly perfectly during that initial break-in period that I didn't believe 1000+ rounds would be needed before determining that it could work as an EDC weapon. I acquire a half-dozen magazines, and ensure that I run through each of the magazines with about equal frequency. I try numerous different ammo choices, in an attempt to identify the JHP and FMJ rounds that work flawlessly in that gun. If the gun appears like it'll be a winner but needs a bit of massaging by a gunsmith, I often have a basic action/trigger job done, focusing on achieving absolute reliability for cycling any rounds. During these tests, I also keep an eye on ergonomics, usability, any features that get in the way of either enjoying or using the gun effectively. Until I've decided, I avoid modifications that would affect resale ability. If it doesn't pass muster, I sell it, without any regrets. That's about it.

    A handful of handguns have met the measure during this battery of use during the first 500-1000 rounds: S&W 442 Airweight .38spl; CZ P-01 9mm; NAA 380 Guardian; H&K P2000SK 9mm. Everything else I've tried has been flawed with respect to cycling reliability, with several of them requiring one or more trips back to the manufacturer in an attempt to correct their problem.

    For me, this seems to be a reasonable way to go about it. If I were to start with only those types of pistols that I most believed would be perfect out of the box, then I would likely have far less issues. As it is, I enjoy playing around with a variety of firearms, thus I'm willing to accept that I will likely experience a higher percentage of them being less than perfect with respect to reliability. It would be great if all firearms had perfect reliability, though in my experience that is just a pipe dream. Hence my break-in process. Works for me.
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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    • Does my thumbs forward grip interfere with the slide lock / can it be dealt with

    • How fast can I work the reset / can I alter the reset to be pronounced and shorter

    • Does the trigger guard rub on the middle knuckle of my middle finger / can it be polished or ground (Happened with my M&P and the slightest bit of material removal fixed it)

    - This can happen with a normal grip, but I'll run a couple mags very fast with an overly aggressive grip.

    • Are there any angles that will make it uncomfortable to carry and can they be altered

    • If it has a thumb safety, does it click down for off and can I ride it. If I cannot ride it, it MUST come off if it will be a carry gun

    - The thumb safety on my M&P was a little awkward to ride so I took a dremel to it and it looked and felt much better. The next day, I just removed it and S&W sent the filler plugs for free.

    • How are the magazines for carry - Again, the M&P as an example

    - The basepads are long. When using a double mag pouch (not so much when using two singles), your pinky finger can contact the front of the rear mag and pull it out of the carrier.

    - So, can they be replaced with shorter ones? For the M&P, yes. There are number of options, my choice being the 10-8 basepads and the S&W compact basepads work great if you don't want to dremel your standard ones. They work great for the spare mags, but if you care about aesthetics, they look a little funny in the gun though.

    That's about it for me. As long as I can run it fast and alter the little things that I don't like or interfere, we're good to go. These were all things I should have put more emphasis on when buying my HK's. The HK45 and 45c were OK purchases, less the thumb safety, as was the P7, but the others were just a waste for the most part. I just bought them to buy them, knowing I probably wouldn't use them much since I didn't like the way they felt.

    So, if something doesn't feel good in your hand, don't force yourself to deal with it. if you can adjust to it, great, but if it may be a problem, move on. I've said this before, but it's worth repeating - There's a HUGE difference between the way a gun FEELS in your hand and how it RUNS in your hand. SHOOT whatever gun you're looking at and run it hard. This will be your best bet on figuring out if it's for you or not in a small number of rounds.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array Luis50's Avatar
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    I understand that it takes practice to learn to shoot well. I also understand that running X number or various rounds is through it is recommended before putting it into the rotation as an edc but, if you rent or borrow this gun for a day or a few hours, there is no time for all of that. Sketch and Oldvet pointed out some things they check for but, most of that can be done without firing.

    My scenario puts you at the rental range (or a friends borrowed gun) with the gun and caliber you think you want but, have never fired before. Now what?
    Luis

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    Mike Tyson

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Luis50's Avatar
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    This is what I was looking for. Thank you sir.
    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    • Does my thumbs forward grip interfere with the slide lock / can it be dealt with

    • How fast can I work the reset / can I alter the reset to be pronounced and shorter

    • Does the trigger guard rub on the middle knuckle of my middle finger / can it be polished or ground (Happened with my M&P and the slightest bit of material removal fixed it)

    - This can happen with a normal grip, but I'll run a couple mags very fast with an overly aggressive grip.

    • Are there any angles that will make it uncomfortable to carry and can they be altered

    • If it has a thumb safety, does it click down for off and can I ride it. If I cannot ride it, it MUST come off if it will be a carry gun

    - The thumb safety on my M&P was a little awkward to ride so I took a dremel to it and it looked and felt much better. The next day, I just removed it and S&W sent the filler plugs for free.

    • How are the magazines for carry - Again, the M&P as an example

    - The basepads are long. When using a double mag pouch (not so much when using two singles), your pinky finger can contact the front of the rear mag and pull it out of the carrier.

    - So, can they be replaced with shorter ones? For the M&P, yes. There are number of options, my choice being the 10-8 basepads and the S&W compact basepads work great if you don't want to dremel your standard ones. They work great for the spare mags, but if you care about aesthetics, they look a little funny in the gun though.

    That's about it for me. As long as I can run it fast and alter the little things that I don't like or interfere, we're good to go. These were all things I should have put more emphasis on when buying my HK's. The HK45 and 45c were OK purchases, less the thumb safety, as was the P7, but the others were just a waste for the most part. I just bought them to buy them, knowing I probably wouldn't use them much since I didn't like the way they felt.

    So, if something doesn't feel good in your hand, don't force yourself to deal with it. if you can adjust to it, great, but if it may be a problem, move on. I've said this before, but it's worth repeating - There's a HUGE difference between the way a gun FEELS in your hand and how it RUNS in your hand. SHOOT whatever gun you're looking at and run it hard. This will be your best bet on figuring out if it's for you or not in a small number of rounds.
    Luis

    "Everybody's got a plan, 'til they get hit".

    Mike Tyson

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    You are very welcome. Enjoy the search, it's probably the most satisfying part of getting a new gun!

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis50 View Post
    My scenario puts you at the rental range (or a friends borrowed gun) with the gun and caliber you think you want but, have never fired before. Now what?
    I don't know about anyone else on the forum, but if someone is looking for a gun and I have it, they're more than welcome to run it at the range or a match, whatever. Obviously I won't be sending them out through FFL's, but if they're local or coming through the area, they're welcome to it. The ONLY thing I don't let out of my sight is my Class 3 stuff, other than that, have fun with it.

    So, I'd be willing to bet if you asked a few members in your area, at least one of them would be willing to meet up with you and let you run the gun a bit if you supply the ammo. Just a thought. If you're ever in South Texas, look me up. If I don't have a particular gun, most likely one of my buddies does and I can get my hands on it.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    That is a wonderful offer from Mr. Consiglio.

    I would just handle the gun make sure you can reliably operate all controls, the trigger is not funky , the slide is not too stiff, etc. Then shoot the crap out of it to see if it does what you want.
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    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    Ok, when I get my hands on a new gun weather its mine or someone elses I sit in the house and get used to the grip. After I have become completely comfortable with how it holds I go through some dry fire testing to get used to the trigger pull and rest. Next I take it to the range and fire off 2 magazine fulls at 5,10,15, and 20. Then I load my SD and hard ball ammo mixed 2 SD's then 1 FMJ until mags are full. I fire off 4 mags full like this and then if everything was smooth and comfortable I clean it load it fire 1 shot and then carry it.
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    Most was already said, So just shoot it, If you shoot it well & like the gun Buy One ; )
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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwhite75 View Post
    That is a wonderful offer from Mr. Consiglio.
    That goes for anyone at any time...


    Quote Originally Posted by Luis50 View Post
    My scenario puts you at the rental range (or a friends borrowed gun) with the gun and caliber you think you want but, have never fired before. Now what?
    When I replied to this quote, I think I read it completely wrong, or you mentioned what I thought it said somewhere else and used the wrong quote, I have no idea! I thought you had said what if you can't get your hands on one at the range, or something like that. So, that's why I mentioned borrowing one. *Looking back at your post just now, I think I was trying to quote where you said "there's no time for all of that".

    So, if you have only an hour at the range, a box of 100 rounds and a rented gun, that's more than enough time to figure it out. For me, like I think I mentioned, I'll use an exaggerated grip and wiggle the gun a bit with my weak hand looking for points where it rubs uncomfortably. I shoot very fast. I'm not looking to see how accurate the gun is, I know that for the most part, I want to see how fast I can run it, accurately, from the first shot. Is it awkward and I need to get used to it? Can i pick it up and dump a mag without having to get used to the gun first?

    I could tell you in one or two mags and a minute or two if I think I'll end up buying it or not. I'd rather have more time, more ammo and a dynamic course, but you work with what you get. I can tell you what won't work - Being one of these guys that goes to the range and rents a gun, then babies it like it's going to spontaneously explode in their hands. Then, when they FINALLY get a round in the chamber, they take aim and fire one shot....then, adjust their grip and fire one more round, so on and so on. This does nothing in my opinion other than waste ammo.

    * As important as this point is FOR ME, I really should have added this earlier - I want to get a grip from the draw, dump an entire mag as fast and accurately as I can, and still have THE SAME GRIP on the gun when it runs dry. If my grip slips with as firm as I'm holding it, what can I expect with sweaty or muddy hands? Also, I better be able to get as high on the gun as possible comfortably, during the draw. This is a little issue I have with the Sigs. If I get as high as I can during the draw, the upper corner of the 229 SCT digs into the knuckle nearest my hand on my thumb.

    I'm sure I could add more and more if I think about it, but the ones I mentioned are enough for me.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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