Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Rapid Fire at the Range

After several trips to my local club with lead-only, no "rapid fire" and general sedate bullseye-shooting only, I spent a few bucks to spend an hour at Trop Gun Range in Elizabethtown, PA this afternoon.

While they don't permit drawing from a holster (given the average customer -- it's a good rule), they permit rapid fire and FMJ. Heck, you can shoot rifle in there (but why you'd want to shoot a rifle in a 25 yard indoor range for more than zero purposes totally baffles me. But I digress...)

The range is well lit, well ventilated, and has nice Meggit devices for positioning targets. I had pre-loaded a dozen mags so after I hung a B-27 and pasted on a paper plate down range it went (the used B-27 was simply a place to hang paper plates and 6" paste-on targets).

I fired the .45 first. I wanted to get back into some higher-speed firing which takes some shifting (for me, at least) after repeated precision target work. After a few mags it started coming back and I got onto a rhythm. Every time there was a flyer it was low and left -- yep, recoil anticipation!

Re-focus on grip and trigger reset. Presssss, fire, reset, reacquire, pressss... repeat.

I shot 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards, varying pace and number of shots. When concentration (or attention) faded and the gun heated up I stopped a bit to pick up brass.

After 50 rounds or so I was managing recoil and the sights were tracking up and down (no oval or lateral which eats time and requires grip readjustment).

After cleaning out my .45 stockpile it was over the the M&P 2.0 full size (5" barrel). I've owned and carried an M&P 9c for years and shoot it well but the 5" barrel adds a bit more precision. But after shooting the 1911 the M&P felt light -- very light. Every minor adjustment had significant impact on the sights.

It was very near the difference between driving a large, fast, heavy car and a sport motorcycle. You can't make the transition unconsciously (well, I can't). I have to remind myself what I'm doing and the differences. The 9mm is light and it is sensitive to deflection. So I increased grip torque and settled that down. The trigger is longer and grittier (it's a stock S&W striker fired) with the "safety" hinge. So my finger position had to be adjusted. It still has the safety (intentional, to maintain same manual of Arms), but the slide is slightly lower, so it was important to keep thumb clear.

After 30 or so rounds I made the adjustment and started blasting away. Though the gun is lighter, so is the 9mm round, so rapid fire became a real treat. By now a few others were on the range and I caught curious "What's he shooting?" glances my way.

I've been working through the differences between rapid fire and precision fire. Some argue that rapid fire is "combat good-enough" and doesn't require sights. Others claim gorilla gripping is useless and does more hard than good.

Right. In context, that is.

The skills and disciplines support each other but they are unique. Precision requires balance, delicacy, and focus. Rapid fire requires strength, energy, and a different type focus (they "look" the same, but "feel" different).

Both are immensely fun and I'm glad we have the opportunity to shoot different ways!

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