Editor's Note: This is from our companion service, The Tactical Wire
Typical group for Hornady Critical Defense: 15 yards, standing, two-handed.
In the previous installment, we examined various types of ammunition in terms of velocity and "feel," as well as the results of some handling drills.
We returned to the range two days later to check for zero and accuracy. This was done at fifteen yards, standing, two handed. Shooting from the bags tells little of the point-of-impact in terms of point-of-aim when the gun is fired off-hand. The results follow:
|Ammo ||Avg. Group|
|DoubleTap 80gr. Barnes TAC-XP ||4", vertical string|
|DoubleTap 95gr. Controlled Exp.||2 ¼"|
|Hornady Critical Def. 90gr FTX||2" (Centered, rounded)|
Notes: Both DT loads tended left, but they were the first fired – some bias is possible.
|Ammo ||Avg. Group|
| 115gr Barnes +P||4"|
| 77gr DT Lead Free||3 ¾"|
| Critical Def. 115gr FTX||3 ½" |
| Black Hills 124gr JHP||3 7/8" |
Notes: Half of the Glock 43 groups were fired with the "short magazine" (flat floorplate), half with the "finger rest" floorplate on the magazine. Strangely, some of the best groups were fired with the short magazine. Grand averages showed there was just over an inch difference in overall accuracy with the edge going to the Glock 42.
Glock 42 in the Galco Pocket Protector used in the handling drills. The "fin" at the rear is used to 'snag' the holster in the pocket to prevent dragging it out with the gun -- it's also handy to hold while reinserting the gun into the holster while staying clear of the muzzle.
I set up a short "handling" course combining the holsters we had and the Micro-Glocks. I used the "B-21"- style target. The handling course I selected was holster-intensive, as the concealed carry practitioner will seldom, if ever, draw unless shooting is in the immediate future – that and most concealed carry types seem to lack the reps necessary to make the draw reflexive.
The first stage I selected I ripped from the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training annual police qualification. Start up at the target. On the signal, draw and, shooting on the move, fire three rounds as you're backing out and moving laterally. This is repeated for a total of six rounds.
The second stage is at five yards, shooting one handed. Draw to three hits with the dominant hand, transfer the gun to the less dominant hand for three more hits, for a total of 6 rounds.
At seven yards, there are two stages. The first three strings are pairs from the holster. The last two strings are "failures to stop" – two hits center, one to the brain – from the holster. There are 12 hits made from seven yards. Finally, at fifteen yards, a pair is delivered from the holster. This is repeated for three strings, a total of six rounds. The total ammo expenditure is 30 rounds.
The longer "qual courses" tend to be endurance exercises more than marksmanship standards or "accuracy tests." The course does give us eleven draws from the holster.
Shooting the Glock 42, I used Hornady 90 grain XTP ammo and drew from the Galco Pocket Protector holster. A word about pocket holsters: Putting the gun back in the holster is a chore. You have to be smarter than the gear to handle it.
After shooting, I carefully transferred the G42 to my left hand, brought the holster out of the pocket and, holding it by the "fin," placed the gun in the holster before putting it back in the pocket.
Note the miss at the left -- an attempt at an 'accelerated pair' from seven yards.
try to fish around in your pocket with a loaded gun while trying to thread the muzzle into the pocket holster. If you do, you'll find out you're not exempt from having your name in the newspapers – or in the "rules reminder" section of Stephen Wenger's Defensive Use of Firearms daily email digest.
Holstering is best done slowly and reluctantly, after you're sure no more shooting is in the offing.
Looking at the photo, you should be able to see there's a "mike" – one pushed out to the left. That was at seven yards, the last pair – I got comfortable enough that I went for an "accelerated pair." The gun is too small for my hands to be doing that, as I proved. If you're going to do this kind of handling drill with your carry gun, don't accept a miss. If it's off the silhouette, consider it a hit on a "no-shoot" – an innocent bystander. You don't get "do overs" on the street.
Can you never
allow a miss in practice? – Don't make a habit of it. While you're learning a new gun or seeing how quickly you can go, you will get a miss now and again. Go back at the end of the range session and do a slow, controlled, drill. I like five hits in a hole at five yards – keep it to one single bullet hole in the target.
Moving to the Glock 43, I did the same course. An older box of Hornady TAP-CQ 124 grain was consumed, along with a few assorted rounds to fill out the course. The Galco TacSlide Holster was worn just ahead of the hip as it's nearly vertical in orientation. Riding high as it does, I found I could carry comfortably at that location – and it helped keep the so-called "brick" Glock 19 on my right hip instead of in a range bag . . .
Head hits are too high and one is pulled out of the max scoring zone -- out on the left, naturally. The G43 was "more accurate" in the handling drill than bull's-eye, the G42 was opposite.
Examining the photo of that target, we see the head hits a bit too high – I still need to work on that – and all hits in a smaller pattern than the .380 produced. One is just out of the "5" on the left, but still on the silhouette. Half of the course was shot with the shorter magazine with the flat floorplate and half with the extended floorplate version.
Remarkably, the 'bull's-eye' group shooting favored the .380 while the handling course favored the 9mm.
There is less tending to the left with both guns as I use them. Perhaps that's a matter of experience. I will say that I'm not getting the sore trigger finger that some commentators mention with the Glock 43 – it's okay, I get that with the Glock 22. I'm not immune, it's just not happening with this gun.
Next, lights, lasers, more holsters and more trigger time.
-- Rich Grassi