Range Day 1: 2023

Round Count: 56 shots fired, 0 malfunctions

The day was Thursday, February 2nd. I am writing this entry five days later based on cursory notes that I took onsite along with memory. My phone was out of storage was I was unable to take photos of the results this time, which is unusual for me. If memory serves, I had last practiced on October 30th of last year; and a four month gap in sessions isn’t bad. However, it’s been been more like sixteen months since I shot my sub-compact 9mm, which is the firearm I shot on this day. On had fired my .38 Special revolver on October 30th. Since the pandemic & corresponding slow down in practice, I’ve discovered that I can go a full calendar year between practice sessions without a noticeable drop off in performance. Since it had been sixteen months since I last shot the 9mm, I guess a bit of a drop off was to be expected–which I did notice, unfortunately.

First Impression

I started out at 5 yards out, aiming for the middle target on the left side. I was true on my first 3 shots without even the benefit of draw firing. This was encouraging, because if I need to use my weapon for self defense, it would be a cold shot–without the benefit of a practice dry fire. This trend has held true over the cast couple of years. My first shots are typically my most accurate. I should try cold shots out at 7 & then 10 yards next time, which is more what I did before Covid19 took such a bite out of my practice sessions.

Still Needs Work

Sadly, my form became sloppier the longer the practice session went. For the record, I fired off 62 rounds in a about 44 minutes of range time. Keep in mind, this wasn’t a race; I adjusted distances between magazine changes & took notes when needed. Still, I had an hour to complete everything I set out to do for the next few months, so I was aware of the clock. Perhaps I began to rush or it was just fatigue that revealed the resurfacing of a few bad habits–not on every shot, but here & there.

  • Muzzle drop when anticipating recoil.
  • Forgetting to recoil upwards.
  • The hand over hand grip felt a bit awkward at times & sometimes required extra time to set properly. This is probably attributable to my overwhelming dependence on my revolver for every day use, which requires a different grip.

I spent the second half of my range session concentrating to weed out these bad habits as well as a) assess rapid fire scenarios & b) long distance accuracy.

Final Takeaway

  • Self defense distance is still proficient as I was accurate at medium speeds out to fifteen yards.
  • Accuracy dropped significantly outside of fifteen yards but was still acceptable. I hit a torso-sized target twice in seven tries at a distance of 20 yards; striking the right shoulder once & the left bicep once over those seven shots.
  • For comparison, I used to be as proficient at 25 yards as I am now at 15–meaning I hit the circle (a target about the sizer of a small saucer, a bit larger than my outstretched hand, about 40% of the time (typically twice in five shots).
  • Follow-up shots need more work as well as re-developing accuracy out to 25 yards.
  • It would probably help to practice with this same weapon within 90 days.
  • RELIABLITY–part of this day’s assessment once in this department, as shooting a single stack 9mm semi-automatic, especially a sub-compact one like mine, requires consistent grip discipline in order to ensure reliability. I had noted over the years that most of the malfunctions that I had experienced with this pistol were 115 grain, FMJs–primary of the Winchester “white box” variety. I experienced no such issues on this day with a variety of bullet types.
  • 115 grain Winchester white box–30/30 with no failures; 115 grain Fiocchi (gold tips) –10/10 with no failures; 124 grain Remington Target in Green/White box– 16/16 (ok’d to carry); Sig Crown-V 124 grain HPs (look like Gold Dots)–6/6 (ok’d to carry).

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