Doing the backyard drill
I have several excellent indoor ranges that I can go to. Spend ten bucks and blow off $25 of ammo. However, sometimes I just want to fire off a few to check the operation of my pistol. I just want to know at any odd time if my weapon will perform as needed.
So, I just go out to the back yard, pull the pistol from my everyday carry position and let it rip. Fortunately I am far enough from neighbors that it won't give anybody a heart attack. But, I can't let it seem like there is a new firing range in town either. I long for the good old days when I was a kid and we could just shoot out in the pasture or at the town dump with it's really good supply of cans and bottles.
So, here is my recent drill. I pull my Sig p238, drop the safety, drop the hammer and fire into a two by six board leaning up against a dirt bank. Second shot - nothing happens. Drop the magazine out, and nothing is in the chamber. It didn't load the second round. Tap, rack and shoot off the rest to get rid of my carry ammo. I figure that the slide grease had gotten too old and went inside for a little spray down with some break free. Went back out for another drill and all is well.
Then I decide to try out the Sig p220 .45, so I go inside, grab the .45, back outside, rack the slide, pull the trigger, nothing. Well, not only did I not have a round in the chamber, but I didn't even have a magazine in the gun. I had set it aside during a recent cleaning. Go, get the magazine, tap, rack and shoots great. I just love everything about the Sig .45, shoots great, feels good, so very reliable if I bother to load it.
So, this is why I do drill. I should have kept my P238 cleaner. I now feel that the P238 needs frequent light lubing so it can operate loose. Too much grease gets in the way after some time.
I should always have my .45 loaded so it will shoot when I expect. Doing the occasional drill reinforces these necessities.
About caliber. The .380 puts holes through the 2X6. the .45 makes a little bit larger hole. They both punch holes. The board doesn't explode just because I shot it with a .45. I view these things as basic hole punchers. I am surprised at how hard it is to kill something with a clean, single shot. You gotta be pretty good for that. Now I really appreciate my father's skill when, so many years ago, he dropped a steer for butchering with a single 30.06 shot. It must have been a good head shot. That steer just went stiff and keeled right over. Dad was not so talented when he had tried to castrate the bovine. The steer was actually a half steer. But that is another story.
I'd suggest a thorough review of city/county ordinances pertaining to the "discharge of firearms" before doing that. In my location, discharging even a BB gun for reasons other than SD is a violation, regardless of whether the neighbors complain or not.