Thursday, March 26, 2009

Finally back at the range.

After I posted a picture of my Hi-Power a month ago, I was gently prodded by Brigid to make a range report. Life, such at it is, has prevented me from making the trek out to the range for quite some time. I finally motivated myself to make it out today.

First, an introduction to the gun.

It is a Fabricaciones Militares (FM of Argentina) FM-90 Hi-Power. While these guns are sometimes mislabeled as clones, Argentina has licensed the design and tooling from FN-Herstal in Belgium for domestic production - making the FM guns true Browning Hi-Powers. The FM-90 is Argentina's MkII version. An interesting distinction of Argentina's Hi-Powers is that the MkII and later models lack the slide beveling seen in the FN guns. This is sometimes known as a "Colt-style" slide, as it gives the gun a more 1911-like appearance.

The stock magazine utilizes a metal follower unique to Argentine Hi-Powers, which increases magazine capacity to 14 rounds from the normal 13-round capacity of FN magazines. Mec-Gar, the OEM manufacturer of FN Hi-Power mags, produces a flush-fit 15-round magazine for the Hi-Power utilizing a special plastic follower. I have found them to be utterly reliable, and have transitioned to these as my primary magazines.

The FM-90 also comes standard with Pachmayr-type wraparound grips with finger grooves on the frontstrap. I absolutely love these grips, as they provide a very positive grip surface for shooting stability.

While later model FN Hi-Powers come standard with spur hammers, FM production guns are equipped with a commander hammer from the factory. I greatly prefer this configuration for concealed-carry purposes.

I purchased my Hi-Power new in the box from the good friend who first introduced me to shooting. Dissatisfied with the FEG PA-63 that was my first handgun, I was looking for something more tasked for concealed carry. Despite being a full-sized double-stack service pistol, the Hi-Power is quite slender. This makes it well-suited for concealment. Many decades of service have proven the reliability of the Hi-Power, John Moses Browning's final handgun design.

All these characteristics make the FM Hi-Power an ideal everyday carry for me. Its matte-black finish aids in concealment. Single-action carry in Condition 1 appeals to my sense of efficiency for rapid deployment. Perhaps it is my German heritage, but polymer-framed guns have never really appealed to me. A solidly-built metal-framed pistol just has a certain aesthetic attraction that plastic can't match.

On to the range report.

It's been about 3 months since I last visited the range, and it showed. I found myself re-training myself to keep my aim steady. I remembered something in someone's blog about "squeezing the gun 20% tighter!". Quite a difference that squeeze makes. It didn't help that my internal clock is all out of whack. To try and remedy this, I decided to reset my sleep schedule by skipping a night with the aid of coffee. Sleep deprivation + caffeine does not a steady hand make. After about 150 rounds, I finally got myself straightened out. Oof.

As mentioned above, the Hi-Power is a single action pistol. Without going into excessive detail, the functional advantages of this kind of action (for me) are that trigger pull is relatively light - making a steady grip during trigger pull generally easier to attain than with a double-action pistol. When compared to a double-action/single-action pistol, trigger pull requires the same effort every time, making shot placement more consistent. Speed and ease of deployment are important to me, and I have found that a single-action pistol meets my needs best. Practice has made deactivation of the safety an intrinsic part of my drawing action - something I can do at speed without specific conscious effort.

The Hi-Power manual-of-arms is essentially identical to that of the 1911. Internal workings are somewhat different in the trigger and safety mechanisms, but overall mechanical operation is essentially the same. The Hi-Power lacks the grip safety feature of the 1911, while the Hi-Power design includes a magazine disconnect "feature" that disables the trigger mechanism when a magazine is not inserted. This feature is widely regarded as a detractor in that the trigger pull is less smooth than its 1911 counterpart, and that it impedes a magazine from falling freely from the gun when released. Many people remove this feature from their guns to eliminate these problems. Were I concerned with competition performance, I might be compelled to remove the disconnect from my gun, but for a defensive pistol I don't believe it to be necessary.

From my own experience, the Hi-Power is well-balanced and lends itself to instinctive "point" shooting. In practice drills, I find that my instinctive aim matches up well to sighted aim at speed, meaning that rapid-transition multiple target drills are natural for me. Balance is a beneficial contributing factor here also, as I have found sight picture reset is quick for me when compared to other pistols in my experience - even guns in the 1911 platform.

It was rainy and windy (and therefore muddy) today, so I didn't do much moving and shooting. While I did not run any multiple target transition drills, I did to some rapid-fire follow-up shot drills to practice sight picture reset. The target to your left (or above, depending on how your screen renders) is from one of these drills - 10 shots of controlled rapid fire at a range of 7 yards. You can click the image to enlarge.

All-in-all it was a good range trip. It started out rough, but as always, range time becomes an exercise in self-control and mental discipline. Going to the range is always like that for me. I can always count on a good range session to clear my head and soothe my mind and body of the accumulated stresses of life. Once I do my part, I know my gun will do its own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not a surprise

Sorry for the meme. Too much to do right now. I'll get something substantive up soon. I blame Breda.

You are a

Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(65% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Monday, March 9, 2009

And now for something completely different.

Due to a the daylight savings change, a change in job status, and various other variables, I find myself up late at a coffee shop, browsing the internets and rummaging though thought tangents. Something crossed my mind from last week, so I figured I'd post it. It is not related to guns, food, or photography (unless you consider that a movie is a set of moving photographs).

Anyhoo, my girlfriend and I were flipping channels on the idiot box the other day, and came across National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation. This particular scene had our usual characters arguing over what to do in a hotel courtyard, with the daughter all dressed up to go out on town separate from the family. I had never seen the movie and was unfamiliar with it. Judging from the clothing, I pegged it as something quite recent. I was wrong. Apparently the film was released in 1997 - twelve years ago! Did the National Lampoon folks have some eerie insight into future fasion? Almost.

Most of my estimation was derived from the clothing of the daughter character. She was wearing clothing typical of what you would see worn in modern times by famous actresses and pseudo-celebrities like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and the like. My girlfriend pointed out that the clothing in the movie was meant to portray, shall we say, someone of questionable morals. A slut on the town, in other words. I found myself wrapping my mind around the notion that 1997 "slut" garb is acceptable everyday fashion for 2009.

Quite a ways we've journied in a little over a decade. It makes me wonder what fashion will bring us in 2021.

(I tried and tried to find an image on the internets of this scene, but was unable to locate one.)

EDIT: I just realized I got on this train of thought while reading phlegmfatale's post about Africans and donated clothes. Heh.