Chad Perrin: SOB

23 May 2009

How reliable is your handgun, really?

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Review — apotheon @ 10:52

Glock 21 in Bucket of Mud How badly can you treat your handgun and still expect it to fire reliably? The owner of a very unfortunate Glock 21 (.45 ACP) decided to find out. The results are reported at the Glock 21 Torture Test. The image I provide here is not even close to the worst that was done to this poor Glock in the course of the torture test — and this guy takes the words “torture test” very seriously.

I don’t have a Glock 21. I do, however, have a Glock 22 (.40 S&W). I like my Glock. It is, in fact, the only Glock I’ve ever held that felt this good in my hand. In general, I find the wide, blocky grips of a Glock (necessary for the double-stack high capacity magazine that comes standard with almost all Glock models) uncomfortable to hold, especially when firing. There’s something odd about this particular Glock 22 that makes it feel different, though. It’s probably some kind of factory “defect”, I guess, but to me it feels like a 50% improvement. I’ve wondered in the past whether I could make another Glock as comfortable through the judicious use of a nail file, but haven’t bothered to find out.

Even so . . . it’s a Glock. Even my Glock 22 isn’t my all-time favorite handgun, even if it’s my all-time favorite Glock. I don’t like the width of the thing in my holster, the width in my hand is still short of ideal, and it’s a fugly piece of gear. I’ve heard Glocks are remarkably reliable, that they can be cleaned in the dishwasher and used again without oiling (or even drying) without any problem (though I’ve never tried it myself), and I know they’re the favorites of a lot of firearms connoisseurs. I tend to prefer DA/SA handguns with a manual external safety over something like a Glock, where the only external safety is a switch in the trigger, for most purposes. It gets a bit punishing on the hand after firing for a bit, being a somewhat beefy .40 S&W on a wide-grip ergonomically kinda neutral design, with basically everything below the slide being plastic so that felt recoil isn’t reduced the way it would be with a firearm that was heavier overall (there’s a reason people call Glocks “combat tupperware”).

After reading about this torture test, though, I have a newfound respect for the Glock design. I may actually get another one some day, in a different caliber.

For the record, the only time I’ve ever had a problem with a failure to feed with my Glock was when I limp-wristed a shot — so that was my fault. Otherwise, it has always worked perfectly.

11 May 2009

Kel-Tec P32 + CCI Blazer = Click

Filed under: Geek,Liberty,Review,Security — apotheon @ 09:32

The SigO and I went to the grasslands to do some shooting on Saturday morning. We discovered that part of the reason she doesn’t like firing my Glock is that, as a southpaw shooter, the magazine release on the thing gouges her hand near the base of her index finger, particularly when it recoils. Since it’s a .40 S&W caliber handgun with a lightweight polymer frame, it recoils a bit. Magazine releases are really high on the list of things to look out for when shopping for a gun for her.

Another big lesson for the day was the discovery that CCI Blazer FMJ .32 ACP sucks in the Kel-Tec P32. We put 57 rounds through the P32 that day, 50 of which were the CCI Blazers. About one of every three rounds misfired. Point, squeeze . . . click. It would dimple the primer, but nothing would ignite. Recock, squeeze again — 60% or so chance it’ll fire on the second try. All of them fired by the third try, except one that took about six or seven tries to get it to discharge. I wanted all that ammo expended. Considering the whole point of a P32 is to have a highly concealable sidearm for defensive concealed carry, misfires are a really bad idea.

The previous week, I put 50 rounds of FMJ from Aguila Ammunition through it with the help of a friend (we swapped off shooting the P32), and it went without a hitch. While struggling this last Saturday to get the CCI Blazer ammo to fire, I expended a full magazine of Federal Premium’s Hydra-Shok (my defensive ammo of choice for carry) through the barrel just to make sure what I was carrying would actually do some good if (God forbid) I should ever be called upon to defend myself with it, and it went as slick as a whistle. Not one single magazine of CCI Blazer was expended without at least one, usually two, misfired cartridges. I don’t intend to ever buy another round of CCI Blazer again, after a performance like that. I’m tempted to hunt down a box of Winchester white box FMJ .32 ACP to see how well it performs, since I’m sure it would be cheaper than the Blazer.

Amusingly, I have discovered that I have a tendency to confuse people in gun shops when shopping for FMJ ammunition. I have a habit of calling it “ball” rather than “FMJ”, because that’s what we called the full metal jacket 5.56mm ammunition in the Army: “5.56mm ball ammo”. Yeah, people give me weird looks and say interesting things like “What?” I really need to adjust my jargon. They probably all thought I was an idiot. Bullets aren’t balls!

Addendum: I found reference to someone else having problems with CCI Blazer in a Kel-Tec P32, as well. Apparently, Kel-Tec recommends avoiding CCI Blazer.

Another Addendum: I’ve been informed by someone who would probably know that the reason the CCI Blazers misfire in my P32 is that CCI uses “hard” primers — which are, along with Winchester’s “hard” primers, recommended for reloading/handloading, because of their reduced likelihood of going off while handloading ammo (that is to say, creating a live cartridge by putting a new bullet, primer, and powder charge in a used shell casing). When buying factory ammo, though, I think I’ll just avoid CCI and Winchester ammo for my P32, at least unless and until I replace the firing pin spring with something that provides more tension so it’ll set off the harder primers on the first try every time.

Yet Another Addendum: I tried CCI Blazer with aluminum casings, and discovered that it fires quite well in my P32. Apparently, it’s only the brass-cased Blazers that have that problem.

5 May 2009

PPR: Whitechapel Gods

Filed under: Review — apotheon @ 06:03

Book Review from the Pocket Pistol: Whitechapel Gods by S. M. Peters (Roughly 375 Pages)

This book takes place in a Victorian era England, in a mythic, walled-in Whitechapel where ash clouds the air, clockwork bionic growth is a mysterious infectious disease called “the clanks”, and a gigantic fiery engine and a tremendous clock tower that feeds on the lifeforce of humans wired into its mechanisms are the earthly manifestations of primordial beings of incredible power. These beings are the gods of Whitechapel, and the tale’s shadowy antagonists.

As this author’s first published novel, it is an amazing achievement. The narrative voice is clear and engaging, the pacing drives the reader onward (at least this reader), and the words invoke vivid imagery with consummate ease. I’ll be looking for more novels by this writer in the future.

Whitechapel Gods is about vengeance, failure, and loss; it is about heroism, integrity, and redemption; it is about fighting the good fight, no matter the odds; and most of all, it is about the best damned steampunk story I have ever read. I found the characters quite sympathetic, even as they betrayed each other; I found the climax thoroughly absorbing, even as it switched between different characters in different places doing different things; and I found the denouement truly satisfying.

I’m a happy customer.

I give it four bullets out of five.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License