Saturday, October 10, 2009

Little Carry Lessons

"Beware the man that has only one gun, he probably knows how to use it."

But seriously how many of us have only one??? So the debate is whether or not to shoot IDPA matches with what we actually carry on the street. If your primary carry gun is a j-frame in a pocket holster then the safety rules keep you from that carry method although you could shoot the gun from a regular holster. But round capacity and caliber also enter the picture for a lot of people and so many shooters carry street guns and shoot match guns that are radically different.

I've gone the route of carrying the same "family" for both purposes. Over the years I've settled on 4" 1911's for primary carry and often for matches. But I also shoot a 5" 1911 in many matches. I usually save the 3" gun for the BUG match but I also rarely carry it. If I can carry the Officer model then I can carry the Commander and more gun is usually better.

[Note: If you don't remember... The Government model 1911 is your normal 5 inch barrel 1911 with the full frame; The Commander model is a 4.25 or 4 inch barrel 1911 on a government sized frame; The Officer model is a 4 inch or less barrel on a reduced frame.]

A few years ago when I shot and carried Glocks for a season I did the same thing with the 9mm family of G17, G19 and G26. It seems very useful to me to shoot in matches something very similar to what you carry. That is if carrying is important to you and I recognize it's not to everyone.

Which brings me back to the point of this ramble. If you're not vying for the top spot at every match like most of us aren't (someone has to make up the "middle 20" and "bottom 10"!) then you can feel a little more free to shoot what you carry and make sure it's up to snuff. I like to make use of the Classifier to shoot my primary carry gun and make sure it's running as it should. Because the Classifier is the same each time you can also tell if a particular gun makes a difference in your times or accuracy.

At our latest Classifier I had a new two-piece magwell installed that I hadn't put a lot of rounds through the gun with. And sure enough the screw holding the magwell to the backstrap came loose and proved to be a real inconvenience. The good news is the gun didn't stop functioning. The bad news is it was enough of a distraction to hinder my performance a little (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). So I learned either (1) take the magwell off or (2) get a drop of loctite on that screw when you put the piece on. I like the ability to take off that extra 1/4" when it makes sense for carry but when it goes on it should stay on.

Make sure you're taking advantage of the opportunity IDPA matches offer to wring out your carry gear. Some day your life could depend on it.

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