By lex, on January 3rd, 2007
I don’t own any handguns, being more of a hunter than a shooter – although these, days, eh: Not so much. Limited access and noli me tangere quia Caesaris sum, etc.
I do enjoy poppin’ me some caps though, so when SNO encouraged me to go with him down to the local, it was with no great reluctance that I accepted. We had intended to get even with some clay pigeons, but the Miramar range * didn’t have the good grace to be open on the Second of January in the Year of Our Lord, 2007 so we defaulted to the indoor range and pistols at 10, 15 and 20 paces.
Now I may have mentioned previously that I have taken something of a shine to the Heckler & Koch .45 ACP USP *, for it is a sweet pistol which points beautifully and makes quite a number of large – if the round size doesn’t start with a “4″ you only piss the bad guys off – and well-grouped holes even at moderate distances, so long as you breathe well, focus on the front sight, let the hammer’s fall surprise you and only ease the trigger back to the catch after firing the first round, repeat.
Sadly, the H&K was off to the gunsmith and I was forced to venture further afield, to wit: The Sig Sauer P220, also in .45 ACP.
Although it felt a bit like cheating – the H&K and I had grown very close – the Sig was a pleasant surprise. In my hands it was if anything more accurate than the H&K no doubt due to the somewhat slimmer grip profile. It also had – for those of us raised on the M1911 – a more conventional magazine release than the H&K does.
The release for the P220 is spring-tensioned button mounted on the pistol frame itself behind the trigger guard and is accessed by the unemployed trigger finger from the right hand side of the pistol (for a right-handed shooter), just like the M1911. The H&K’s magazine by contrast is released pressing down on a lever mounted just to the rear and below of the trigger guard itself and is accessed with the right thumb. Since that weakens the shooter’s grip on the pistol a bit it had always felt a little awkward to me. Although I eventually learned to release the catch without turning the pistol on its side, looking at it and holding it palm up in my hand, it took a bit of practice. It also felt just the teeniest bit flimsy compared to the rest of the pistol and taken with the other issues the magazine release had long been my chief complaint against the H&K, even while its advocates swear that the design prevents indadvertant magazine release – something I would be more concerned about perhaps, had it ever happened to me personally.
Nothing comes for free, and the slimmer profile of the Sig meant that it only carried 7 rounds in the magazine, while the H&K, with its beefier grip, holds a double-stack magazine with a theoretical capacity of 12. Double stack mags are of course illegal in the state of California, and anyway if you need to be able to chamber 12 rounds in your self-defense weapon you ought to perhaps consider taking shooting lessons to improve your accuracy or else moving to a safer neighborhood.
We also took turns a-firing of the store’s AR-15, just for the accuracy that was in it. Little bitty holes, but they do go just where you aim them and get there right quick. It was over all too soon.
All good clean fun, and only in America. Still, if it was down to brass tacks, I’d go a different way entirely.* Not that they’re giving them away, but you can never have too many shotguns.
* 07-17-2008 Links Gone; no replacements found – Ed.