Reasons To Retire Your Glock?

Reasons To Retire Your Glock?

Below is a post I wrote for Springfield Armory’s blog, “Armory Life” a few months ago. I’ve been a bit busy of late (all positive reasons) and writing has been at the bottom of the priorities list. As things start to settle back into a routine here I will be putting out more posts.

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I bought my first polymer-framed pistol (a Glock 17) in 1989. Between comparing the Glock’s 22 ounces in weight to my Browning Hi-Power’s 35 ounces, (the difference in capacity being 17 and 13 rounds, respectively) I figured the upgrade just made sense.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m looking to replace/upgrade from my full-sized 1911 in .45 ACP. I already had a Glock 30 as an “off duty” gun, so I figured I would get a pistol that would use the same full-sized mags interchangeably with a pistol I already owned.

I’ve had that Glock 21 for twenty years. Other than changing out the barrel for one that will shoot cast bullets and take a suppressor, I’ve been satisfied with it. That being said, the “suppressor-ready” XD-M .45 from Springfield Armory has made me reassess the Glock 21 I’ve had and recommended over the years.

The XD-M .45 Full-Size with Threaded Barrel is a great option for someone wanting a pistol ready to accept a suppressor right out of the box.

I normally tell people to try one of three pistol brands and models in 9mm or .45ACP if they are buying an automatic pistol. I recommend Glocks because I’ve owned them “forever”. I recommend S&W M&P’s because I’ve carried both their 9mm and .40S&W’s as “Duty Guns”. Finally, I recommend Springfield Armory XD’s because not only do I carry an XDs45 all the time, but when I bought my children pistols 11 years ago, I bought them both 5” XD 9mm’s. Did I also mention my Wife bought an 4” XD 9mm based on my recommendation (all three of them use the same mags)?

Why the Change?

Two things have become apparent to me when recommending a pistol to the average person. First, most people like the more vertical grip angle of pistols like the 1911, XD and XD-M. Second, most people don’t like the grip size of the Glock 21 .45 ACP pistol because they’re larger than a typical semi-auto pistol.

Even with the largest grip insert (there are three included with the pistol) in place on the XD-M .45, its diameter feels obviously smaller than a G21. I have very large hands, so it’s not a big issue for me. However, this can be a big deal for the new shooter who is just getting used to their new gun. Being comfortable with your gun’s grip is important.

The pistol has great features like suppressor-height sights and packs in 13+1 rounds of .45 ACP.

Down to the Details

Do I think a grip safety is important/necessary on an automatic pistol? No. Do I think it’s a “nice to have,” especially if it’s being used by a new shooter? Definitely! Teaching a person how to properly shoot a pistol with a grip safety is easier than teaching how to properly use a slide release.

How about the mag release? Being a lefty, I appreciate when a company makes their product ambidextrous. Although I think it’s important to teach someone how to manipulate the controls of right-handed weapons, I like that they’ve given the customer options with the XD series.

There are more advantages to the XD-M .45. When I first taught my kids how to use and shoot their XDs, I taught them how to determine the status of their pistols in the dark. The firing pin/striker protrudes out the back of the slide when cocked, and a loaded chamber indicator sticks out of the top of the slide when a round is in the chamber. This is an excellent safety feature I wish other brands of pistols had.

And finally, this XD-M is set up right from the factory for suppressor use. Not only does Springfield give you a threaded barrel, but they give you tall suppressor sights for a complete suppressor-ready package.

I was really impressed with the performance of the XD-M on the range.

Hands On

Putting the XD-M .45 through its paces, I ran it through the standard ICE Qualification Course I usually shoot with a 9mm M&P. The Springfield breezed through it with flying colors. The three rounds from the draw in two seconds was no problem, and the pistol was easily controllable. Beyond that course of fire, accuracy at 25 meters was excellent with the Federal ammo I had on hand.

The pistol shot great with a wide range of Federal ammunition I had on hand.

Conclusion

A good, reliable full-sized pistol is something I think every adult should own. If you’re a new shooter and interested in going the .45 ACP route, give the XD-M .45 series of pistols a serious look. Compared to the Glock 21, it has a smaller grip and doesn’t have the “Luger” angle many shooters don’t like. It has the same magazine capacity at 13 rounds, and if you’re planning on getting a suppressor, the XD-M .45 is set up for one right out of the box. Sounds like a winner to me.

JCD

"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.
“Adapting To Survive”: Firearms-Part 1, The .308 Winchester to .32ACP Cartridge Adapter

“Adapting To Survive”: Firearms-Part 1, The .308 Winchester to .32ACP Cartridge Adapter

As you’ll see in the post, one of the reasons I’ve picked my 11″Para FAL as my “Survival Rifle” is how well it does with the .32ACP adapter used for small game.

I have been fascinated by cartridge adapters since I read an article about the .22LR to .223Rem adapter when I was a kid. The idea that you could have a full powered firearm, and be able to use a less powerful round for taking small game or practice with, just made sense for this aspiring Survivalist.

Fast forward about seven years and I had acquired two Harry Owens .32ACP-.308Win. adapters for my HK91 and used them….A LOT! The main problem with those adapters was that at 25 yards, your hold over was about 6-7 inches. I had a Springfield Armory 6x scope with a BDC reticle, and had to hold at the 700 meter hash mark. The HK91 had a 17.7 inch barrel, and I never checked the velocity of the .32ACP out of that rifle, but I did take plenty of squirrel and grouse with that combo.

Using a scope with a Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticle can be helpful with accurately aiming your weapon while shooting adapter loaded rounds.

Although I’ve had .32ACP adapters from various venders over the years (I gave the Harry Owen’s adapters with the HK to the guy I traded it to), last year, I decided I wanted to try them out of the 11″ FAL I acquired a few years ago. HOLY COW! Not only did those adapters shoot “Point of Aim/Point of Impact” for the /308Win zero, but when I put them on the chrony, they clocked in at 1115fps.

.32ACP in Feet Per Second out of the 11″ DSA FAL (Left), 16″ SAI Socom (Center) and the 2.68″ Keltec P32 (Right).

I had been told normal pistol velocities for a .32ACP (3-4″ barrel) were around 900fps, so this was a big step up in velocity, and at that point, I realized I might be on to something. First I checked the velocity of the .32ACP load (S&B 73gr ball) out of a pistol (Keltec P32) and it measure 695fps. Next, I checked it out of my 16″ Socom and it measured 988fps and shot 6 inches low at 25 meters. Finally, I put together a ballistics chart comparing that 73gr. 1115fps projectile to a common .22LR round out of a rifle. Below are my findings.

Out to 150 yards, the .32ACP load out of the 11″ FAL is dead even with a .22LR out of a rifle.

While the .32ACP shoots accurately out of 16″ and 18″ barrels, it shoots best out of shorter barrels like that of the 11″ FAL. Below shows the 3 shot group of the 16″ Socom. 2 shots were in 3/4″ and the third made the group 1.5″. This was at 25 meters, and it’s still small enough for small game.

The aim point at 25 meters was the top green dot. Group was shot with older adapters bought from Sarco.

With the 11″ FAL, group size with the Sarco adapters was around 1 1/2″. I found a company in Anchorage, Alaska that’s been making adapters for a long time. I contacted Ace Dube at MCA Sports Ace Bullet Company (his Face Book link) and ordered two of his .32ACP-.308Win adapters.

I spoke with him about the adapters I already had, and he had advised that they were what was left of his competition’s stock that was sold off after his death. He said a lot of them had not been spec checked before they were sold and were sold “as is”. I know after using his adapters, they are easier to get the brass out after firing than the ones from Sarco and Sportsman’s Guide are. They also are more accurate, as the pic below shows a three shot into a 1/2″ group.

Here’s the bottom line for me when it comes to something like cartridge adapters. First, they give you the ability to accurately shoot small game with the same weapon you are already carrying. Second, in the case of the .32ACP adapter, it is not only a centerfire, reloadable case, but it can be reloaded with a cast lead bullet you can make yourself. Third is compactness. In the case of these adapters along with my FAL, I can carry two adapters and a few .32ACP rounds in the pistol grip storage compartment.

I plan on doing more in the “Adapting To Survive” series where I will discuss several types of adapters I’ve used over the years.

JCD

"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.

 

 

Firearms For Freedom and Forage-Part 4, Hunting Handguns

Firearms For Freedom and Forage-Part 4, Hunting Handguns

When it comes to hunting with a handgun, I very rarely have ever looked at the handgun as anything more than a back up or a convenience. I very rarely ever go hunting without a handgun, but it is used very little in comparison to my long guns. Having owned many pistols that people say are great for hunting, I’ve narrowed down my selection to only two that I consider necessities when it comes to “pistols for foraging”.

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Keep in mind what I am making my comparisons to. I have owned a 7.5″ Ruger Redhawk in .44Magnum, a 6″ GP-100 in .357Magnum, a 4″ Ruger Security Six in .357 Magnum, a Magna-ported 6″ S&W M29 in .44Magnum, and a 3″ S&W M317 in .22LR. They all did OK and shot well enough. As a matter of fact, the 6″ M29 was one of the most accurate Magnums I’ve own. These were cut from the “Herd” for various reasons which I will cover below.

Selection Criteria

Versatility

The things I weigh when making a firearms selection for a hunting handgun, starts first with versatility. This is the reason I choose a revolver for what Mel Tappan called a “Working Gun”. Revolvers can use reduced loads and birdshot loads as reliably as a regular, full power, factory load.

Accuracy

After versatility, comes accuracy. If a .22LR revolver won’t shoot “Minute of Squirrel” at 15 meters, it gets cut from the team. This is why the 3″ S&W M317 was sold. If my Magnum caliber handgun doesn’t shoot into four inches at 25 yards, it gets the boot.

Weight/Bulk

Lastly on the list is weight/bulk. While I like a handgun to be lightweight, a .44 Magnum that is lightweight is a “Masochist Special” in my book. On the other hand, a Ruger Redhawk with a 7.5″ barrel is not only too heavy for convenient carry, but it is way too bulky for a quick presentation if necessary. I’ve found the 6″ barreled revolvers I’ve owned to be a tad too long for convenient belt or “Tanker Holster” carry, so there goes the GP-100, Redhawk and 6″ M29.

Power

In big game hunting revolvers, I look for enough energy to do the job on the game I’m hunting. The .357 Magnum out of a 6″ barrel is in the “bare minimum” category for me. When you drop the .357 Magnum to 4″ barreled velocities, it doesn’t deliver near the downrange energy I’d like in that type of handgun and that nixed the Security Six.

I’m lookin for at least 700 foot pounds out of a handgun I carry when hunting big game. Although the .357 Magnum has some specialty loads that will do that, it averages around 500-550 ft lbs in common weights and bullet designs. At least the .44 Magnum out of everything from a 3″ barrel up will put out 700 ft. lbs. on target with most factory loads.

Reliability

When it comes to reliability, most revolvers will give you that, as long as you know what will cause problems with that type of action. The biggest issue I’ve seen with revolvers is after a lot of shooting, lead will build up on the forcing cone to the point that you need to clean/scrub it. You can do as I did in between relays in a “Firearms Instructors Course” in the 90’s and half cock the hammer while spinning the cylinder to knock the lead build up off (that is a last choice option BTW, and was completed while still on the “Line”) but that was done after we had fired hundreds of rounds through our weapons that day.

Availability

Finally, I look at what is commonly available in the “Mom and Pop” General stores. Usually you will see .357 Magnum and maybe .38 Special. There will usually be .44 Magnum, .45ACP, 9MM and always .22 Long and Long Rifle.

My Choices

Taurus 4″ M94 .22LR 

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4″ Taurus M94 .22LR in a Mil Surplus aviator shoulder holster with a folding knife sheath converted to carry three speedloaders. One speedoader always has 9 CB Long cartridges in it, due to how quiet they are.

The first pistol I selected is a Taurus M94, nine shot .22LR with a four inch barrel. I have had this pistol for about 15 years and it never fails to deliver when needed. It will shoot “Minute of Squirrel” out to 20 meters off a solid rest. I can’t tell you how many squirrels I’ve taken over the years just because I always had this firearm in my pack when I went out hunting.

It is convenient to carry not only because it is only a 4″ barrel, but because it is “J-Frame” sized (the same as the 5 shot, snub nosed revolvers) and relatively lightweight. It carries plenty of rounds to get the job done, and what I normally do is load CB Longs into the first and second chambers and the rest are CCI Mini Mags.

The sights are thin enough to make an accurate shot on small game, but still visible enough to see when the light starts to dim. I carry extra ammo for this pistol in HKS speedloaders for no other reason than it is more convenient than loose ammo in your pocket. If you compare the cost of the S&W M63 (a comparable pistol model) the Taurus M94 is half the price with most of the same attributes (the S&W DA trigger is smoother).

Smith and Wesson 4″ M29

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Magna-ported 4″ M29 .44 Magnum with an El Paso Saddlery Tanker holster and an M1 Carbine 15 round mag pouch which conveniently holds 4 speedloaders.

I have been a fan of .44 Magnum revolvers since I was a teenager. With that said, I’ve owned a number of them and of all the .44 Magnum revolvers I’ve owned, the 4″ M29, I’ve had for 17 years, is the most convenient one for size, weight and accuracy that I have found.  At 50 meters, this revolver will put all six rounds on a paper plate when using a solid rest.

My 4″ M29 is Magna-ported. What this means is that the perceived recoil and the muzzle rise is less than a non Magna-ported version and it makes a big difference. I consider Pachmayr grips to be a necessity on magnum caliber revolvers, and the “Gripper” model you see here is best, out of their selection of designs, in my opinion.

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The 3 loads I use out of my M29 are the Remington 240 grain HTP Jacketed soft point, the CCI shot loads for small game (both #9 and #4 shot) and a reload that pushes a 310 grain hardcast flatpoint at 1080 fps for a little over 800 ft lbs. of energy. This round is meant as a dangerous game load and is all about penetration of vital areas.

The 4″ M29 weighs in at 3.25 lbs. loaded and carries very well whether it’s strong side or cross draw on the belt, or in the tanker holster on my chest. Anything bigger is too cumbersome. Anything smaller would be painful to shoot, not as controllable and not as reliable, power wise, at taking out a dangerous animal.

This concludes the 4 Part series of the basic attributes I look for in “Firearms for Freedom and Forage”. Next, we will look more in depth into the firearms we’ve given a brief overview of.

JCD

“Parata Vivere”- Live Prepared.