Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sig 238 Compared to Colt Mustang +II

This was posted before I had a chance to shoot the gun, so ignore the first two sentences. This is the fist 238, I still need to compare it to my standard Mustang, but you get the picture.

I remember when the 238s first came out, I thought I'd be one of the first to get one, I'm glad I didn't. Between the initial recall and some of the issues, not to mention the newer models that meed my wants I'm glad I waited.

What I've wanted all along is a steel framed 238 with a longer frame like that of my Colt Mustang +II, but that will have to wait till Sig makes one, if they make one. Until then I'll have to make due with the 238 as is. Having a couple of the Colt .380 pistols to compare the Sig to, my initial take on the 238 is pretty darn good. The materials used to make the gun are far better than that of my +II. I will do a comparison of the 238 and my Mustang and Government .380 at a later date, I will say that my +II is the roughest of the bunch as it is a later model Mustang. Sig had some time (10+ years) since the end of the manufacturing period of the Mustang and the release of the 238 and they made some vast improvements in my opinion.

The guide rod is steel, not plastic like the Mustang rods (the Government .380 used a plug and guide like a GI 1911, steel Mustang rods are available) and they use a single spring design unlike the dual springs of the Mustang (replacement springs from Wolff are single springs). The factory grip panels on all the Mustangs I've seen were plastic, the 238 comes with wood or G10, the 238 HD currently comes with G10 which is my preferred material these days. Some owners of 238s have experienced quick discoloration of the wood grips, the G10 is going to stay black. The 238 also came with hex head grip screws which seem to be the rage these days. You will note that my Mustang +II also has the hex screws, but I added those as well as the stainless steel guide rod.

The ejector on the 238 seems to be a little different, a detail strip later on will confirm this, but I can tell that something is different as it springs back to the up position instead of staying recessed in the mag area of the frame, this is a nice touch as it makes it harder to lodge the ejector, note I said harder, i[URL="http://web.mac.com/mj_lauer/iWeb/RangeDiary/Stuff/8174CE21-5060-4F0B-8F7A-DAE1E3CB4AA0.html"][U]t can still be lodged and require that pain in the rear procedure to free the ejector, but it seems that the sear spring is the same and the procedure has not changed. [/U][/URL]

The sights, which are probably overkill on poodle shooter are MUCH better than the Mustang, if you shoot BUG matches @ your local IDPA league, you may like the 238. The magazine of the 238 seems to be well made, but then again so were the Colt mags. They are slightly different in the follower design and are stainless steel, I plan on trying out my blued and nickel mustang mags in the 238 and see how they perform.

I was a little skeptical of the redesign of the back strap of the 238 as the Mustang had a gentle slope to it while the 238 looks a little chunky as a result of the removable main spring housing that Sig threw in the mix. The front strap of the 238 has some vertical serrations that are cut a little deeper and wider than most serrations of that style, they should be adequate, but then again I've never had issues with a Mustang getting to slippery with a smooth front strap, there's just not that much oomph.

And They Ask Why I Like Living in Iowa...

Yeah, that's right I can just go in, order, and walk out. If only they had drive thru...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kudos to SOG

So I was killing a little time on Facebook when the guy who does SOG's page sent me a message regarding their upcoming change. Something about how they can't have a personal page, must be a business page etc. etc. Any way I ask the guy if I can get a new pocket clip for my Spec Elite 1 and he's like "Sure they give them away" to which I thought "Yeah right" but as it turns out, they do just give them away.

Just thought that was kind of cool and wanted to share.

...Also, I didn't get to run the Nighthawk over the weekend, only one of us got to go shoot IDPA and I let my wife attend. You can watch some match video below.

Yes, that was a stage where you stake a vampire in it's coffin, my idea.stage design and I didn't even get to shoot it. Sometimes it sucks taking the high road in life.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Don't Shoot the Messenger, Why I Don't Endorse Kimber

Anyone that's asked me about which 1911 to buy would probably say that I have a soft spot in my heart for bashing Kimber...

I'm not going to go into my issues with any of the four Kimbers I've had (three of them being CDP "Custom Shop" guns), I'm not going to talk about rust-prone barrels, I'm not going to talk about crappy magazines, I'm not going to talk about MIM parts (hey my Nighthawk has a MIM Kimber thumb safety) as a matter of fact I'm not going to say anything other than read this:

10-8 Performance: The Kimber Warrior

And yes, my thoughts on Kimber have been negative before I even knew who 10-8 and Hilton Yam were.

In all honesty, if I could stage a successful boycott of Kimber products until either the price went down to match their quality or their quality went up to match their price I would, but as long as people keep buying them the way they are Kimber has no reason to change.

It's your money folks, you can spend it any way you want, but if you ever ask me what I think about Kimber don't be surprised when I get a little sour on them.

The Nighthawk Talon Bob-Rail-Range Update

Managed to get some range time in on Friday evening and a little yesterday, jut shy of 300rds down range I did have one issue where my hand slipped up an engaged the slide stop, but other than that it's buttery smooth and very accurate.

The ambi. safety is a little on the stiff side but I've been working it on/off for the last three days and it's starting to loosen up.

IDPA match on the 24th should be a good indicator on how the gun runs at speed. I did a few stages of multiple targets on the move and stationary transitions and the gun just flat out runs. I'm working on keeping my elbows bent a little and it really does help mitigate recoil.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sig P238 Update


I took out the replacement gun and fired 99 rounds of Blazer Brass 95gr FMJ (round nose variety) and had 1 failure. The extractor did not budge during those 99 shots and for the first time in recorded history I managed to retrieve 99 pieces of brass, a couple were out of round but nothing like what I was experiencing before.

I did testing with the new mag and the original mag, the one failure I had was with the old mag, I had a premature lock open after the third of six shots. Other than that all was well on this trip. More testing to follow.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Nighthawk Talon Bob-Rail

No, that's not a typo. My Nighthawk is a bobtailed, railed, 5" 1911.

Start with your basic Talon, add a Recon frame, bobtail it, add chainlink texture, cover it in hard chrome, add an ambi safety (For IDPA and yes...it's a Kimber ambi safety, the guys at NHC like them) have the barrel crowned and hard chromed while they are at it along with all the other small parts, have the slide cut for Heinie Straight 8 Ledge sights with the .156" rear notch and have the rear of the slide serrated to match the sights, then sent out for "Diamond Black (Ion Bonde DLC) and you get this:

Nighthawk Custom Talon+

Yeah, that's me.

 Here's some close ups of the gun as I'm pretty sure no one wants to see more pictures of me.

VZ G10 Black Cherry 320s with the NHC logo.

Chain Link Front Strap
Chain Link Mains Spring Housing (MSH) to Match

Serrated Rear of Slide and Heinie Straight 8 Ledge Rear Sight

Crowned Muzzle Flush with Bushing, note the GI Plug

Overall I am very pleased with how this gun came out. The original grips were Cocobolo, I special ordered the VZs last week anticipating it's arrival and I think they look very good on the gun. Just a hint of color without being too bright. Should have some range time this weekend and will post updates.

Oh, the replacement Sig 238 came in today too but for some reason I just don't feel like fondling it tonight.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Rise of Rhome, A Review of the DGL #2 IWB

This is a holster review from February of '09, thought I'd toss it up here as I'm looking at trying to get one of his holsters (the IWB #4) for my Sig 238 provided the replacement runs. 

Along time ago way back when, I first happened to come across DefensiveCarry.com (CombatCarry back then) and I dug into the Mega-Holster Maker Links page, bookmarked about half a dozen makers and then started making decisions on gear I wanted and started searching out info on those makers.

Of those that I was looking I really liked what I saw from Desibens Gunleather. The gear looked solid and there were no complaints on wait time, price, etc. This was to be my first custom holster so I was a little hesitant after hearing some horror stories. The holster was for my Kimber CDP Compact, previous to that I was carrying it in my Galco Royal Guard for my 5” 1911. I ordered an IWB and two magazine carriers from Rhome in horse with a cherry finish, I loved the holster, but the horse just wasn’t right for me in that configuration, and eventually I ended up tossing the holster in with the CDP for a trade, I kept the magazine carriers and used them often. Currently those magazine carriers are being used by my Father who is currently using them and my Royal Guard for CCW duty in MI.

I never got around to ordering another rig from Rhome prior to his departure from the States. He’s come back and set up shop again in California and has started making holsters again with some new designs, Rhome contacted me and asked me to review one of his new holsters and I was pleased to accept. I received the holster on 1-16-09 and was pleased with what I saw. The first thing that tickled me was that he included a sheet of wax paper and instructions on break in, I made a point to ask him about this and the sheet of wax paper will be included with all holsters, in case a buyer doesn’t have the wax paper this will save him a trip to the store for a whole roll when just a small piece is need…I just thought that was damn cool. Also included was a care and use sheet which those familiar with Gary B’s website will recognize.

The holster I received is the IWB #2 for a 5” 1911 which is based on the Brommeland Max-Con V. Now before we go any further, I asked Rhome if Gary was aware that he was making a rig based on Gary’s work and his reply was that even he is having trouble getting in touch with Gary, but Rhome does give Gary credit where it’s due as Gary was an inspiration in Rhome’s own work, so lets not go into a “He stole “X” from “Y” debate.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

Ladies and gentlemen please
Would you bring your attention to me?
For a feast for your eyes to see
An explosion of catastrophe

Like nothing you've ever seen before Watch closely as I open this door Your jaws will be on the floor After this you'll be begging for more

The Nighthawk is done and will be in my hands by this weekend...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Colt Mustang, Why all the Hype?

Saw this in the traffic stats, someone searching for that sting of text ended up here.

Allow me to elaborate on why the Mustang, Mustang +II, Gov't .380 and Sig 238 line of pistols is so neat.

Most .380s are either too large for their caliber such as the PPK, Sig 230/232, Bersa .380, Beretta Cheetah. 
Even the new Walther PK .380 is larger than some 9mms. Or don't have some of the features we come to expect with larger guns. With newer options in 9mm such as offerings from Kahr and Keltec carrying a .380 of the same size doesn't make a lot of sense. The Mustang series and spin offs are slimmer than the .380s listed above and smaller. The Mustang +II while having the same capacity of a PPK, Sig 232, and Bersa .380 is more compact overall.

Lets take some time to look at the sub-combat .380s since the compact ones are not really in the same size class, lets face it if you're looking at the Mustang you're looking for guns in the pocket pistol category regarding size.

The most popular small .380s are the Ruger LCP/Kel-Tec P3AT, NAA Guardian, Seecamp , Kahr P380 and the Sig 238. I'm not up to speed on the Desert Eagle .380 so I'm not including it in this piece.

Comparing the Mustang to those (excluding the 238 as it's basically the same gun, I will compare the two to each other later) what you get in the Mustang is a much better trigger, "proper" mag release and functional slide stop, and either an aluminum or steel frame. While other guns do have a metal frame they don't have both the mag release and usable slide stop/release. I will not compare the Pocketlite series of Mustangs to the others as I do not own any, my three Colt .380s are of the steel frame variety and these are the models I am comparing to the other .380s in this posting. When it comes to shooting a steel frame Colt .380 and a P3AT, it's night and day, especially if it's a +II as there's a little more to hang on to. Unaltered the P3AT really wanted to jump out of my hand and the trigger is atrocious, however adding a Hogue JR grip sleeve and a pinky rest do make a very big difference in P3AT control but the Mustang still beats it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Regarding the 1911 vs. "X" etc.

The content below is made up of 1/2 forum posts and 1/2 updated text to make it read better here without the other posts present to piece it all together.

I don't know why exactly, but some people act like the 1911 platform had somehow managed to pour sugar in their gas tank while simultaneously lighting a bag of poo on their front porch and soaping their windows.

We've all seen the "Which 1911" threads, or the "1911 vs. "X"" threads, and my favorite "What's so great about the 1911?" threads. But what I just don't get are the folks that just can't wrap their heads around the fact that some people just like 1911s, we like how they shoot, we like how they carry etc.

Yes they are heavier, yes they have lesser capacity than other guns, yes they have those "funny" things called safeties, yes they are usually carried with an evil, menacing, ominous cocked hammer but for whatever reason it's what I shoot best.

Those things listed above don't bother me. Back in 2003 when I came back from the Gulf, my Dad lent me several pistols to take to the range and try them out to see what I liked as I was to be applying for my Concealed Pistol License (CPL-Michigan ). I had a Glock 22, a Smith 4506, a Colt Light Weight Commander and a J-Frame.

Of them all I shot and liked the LW Commander the best. Shortly after taking my CPL class I moved to PA and applied/received my Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LTCF). My first pistol was a Para P16-40 which is a Government sized 1911 pattern pistol with a double stack magazine chambered in .40S&W and held 16rds of .40. It didn't last long as a carry pistol, it was just too big of a gun. But for the better part of the last six years I've been carrying some variant of 1911 pattern pistol. Along the way I've carried many other guns as well. Sig, Glock, Springfield XDM, S&W J-Frame etc. I have a wide variety of guns to choose from and of all of them I still like the 1911 best and perform the best with it, the XDM is a close second.

Now with all that being said, some will totally disregard it and claim that I am just being sentimental, compensating for something because I like the .45, or some other rubbish. As for why I like the .45ACP, it's not that I'm enamored by it's girth, it's that I like 1911s and for me (and according to others more in the know than I) 5" 1911s in .45ACP run best. I've had a bunch of 1911s, 3", 4", and 5" and had a couple of them in .40. I've had single stacks, I've had double stacks, I've had Light Double Actions (LDA) and traditional single actions. In other words I know a thing or two about 1911s.

A couple of weeks ago a thread was started titled "Why Carry a 1911 over a Glock or XD. Now without even getting into the grip angle of the Glock or the lower than average opinion of the XD in general (I like mine by the way) what gets under my skin is why is it always the 1911 being questioned?

Why is it always the 1911? How come no one harps on the Sig 220 or 220 SAO? Those are larger heavier, single stack .45s, one of which has a thumb safety. Why is it not the Hi Power which is larger than a G19 with less ammo and has a thumb safety? Why is not the single stack S&W models with the safety/decocker?
Why is it not the HK P7 which is smaller than a 5" 1911, but about the same weight (8oz diff) with only 9 rounds of 9mm? How come it's not the Kahr line with their limited capacity and weight in the steel frame selections?

No News...

On the Nighthawk yet, it's very hard to not call them each day and see what the status is. What would have been cool was if I had requested pics for the blog during the build process but I really don't want to be a pain.

I did call them before my Langdon Tactical class to see if the gun would be ready but it was still awaiting shipping of the slide for the Diamond Black (Ion Bond) finish. They did offer to Permakote the slide and ship me the gun to use for the class but I'd rather just have it when it's complete...otherwise I wouldn't want to send it out to get the slide refinished.

Meanwhile I figured out what I wanted for grips on the NHC. I'm going with some VZ Black Cherry 320s with the NHC logo and mag notch, I also ordered a VZ hat and some Wiley X glasses while I was at it, my hardware store safety glasses just weren't cutting it. While I'm usually not keen on logo gear, I think I own seven pairs of VZs so I think I can feel secure in wearing something with their logo on it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Sig 238HD is Getting Replaced.

As I previously noted, I sent my Sig in for the 3rd time on the 21st of September. Received a phone call this morning from Sig asking where to send a replacement gun.

Hopefully this one will run better than it's predecessor. I've got 200rds of Blazer Brass waiting to test it out. Provided they shipped the gun today via next day carrier I will hopefully get a chance to run it this weekend and post an update.

To recap.

July 24th: I got to the range the other morning and had the place to my self and was able to do some initial testing on my two latest guns, my Glock 21SF and the Sig 238.
I started with the 238 as I was pretty sure what to expect from from a used Glock.

First the good news, it fed all the types of .380 ammunition that I keep on hand, Remington 102gr Golden Saber, Speer 90gr Gold Dot, Hornady Critical Defense, and both Remington UMC and Winchester FMJ all fed well.

Bad news is that I had two failures to extract the spent casing from the chamber. All in all I fired 50rds of Rem. UMC, about 25 rounds of the Winchester, 20rds of Gold Dots, 15 rounds of the Golden Saber, and only about 12 rounds of the Critical Defense. Also of note is that several casings were mangled up pretty good, I meant to take pictures of them, but didn't. I'll follow up with those later. As for the extraction, I think the extractor is just a little stiff, some more testing is definitely in order.
August 6th: Took the 238 back out to the range, fired 50 more rounds of Remington UMC, the brass was no longer getting mangled, I did have a few more failure to lock open on empty issues and one more failure to extract. I'm thinking it's time for that shipping label to Sig.

172 rds fired, 3 failures to extract, and about 6 failures to lock open.

All shots today were using the Sig factory mag.

Also, I am starting to notice the peening of the slide stop engagement area in the slide referenced above. Will upload some pictures tonight.  

Gun shipped to Sig for first time on August 9th, received it back August 17th with a busted front sight. Requested an RMA that day and testing the gun. They had replaced the slide and extractor.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

AAR: Langdon Tactical Technology: Two-Day Advanced Tactical Handgun

8-10-11--Langdon Tactical now has a new website, http://www.langdontac.com/ 

  I really don’t know where to begin with this AAR, the class was fast moving and very little time was spent in the classroom, we learned on the range and I think we all learned a lot. I shot just shy of 1000rds and that didn’t leave a lot of time for note taking during the shooting portion of the class.

There were seven of us in the class and I can say that I was in very good company as I was probably the “worst” shooter present. I don’t know why but I was off my game a little. I couldn’t shoot a group standing still to save my life but when the moving and shooting, and the moving and shooting of moving targets started I was back to a good level of performance.

I think one of the most unique things about this class is that Ernest knows every thing about the origins of what is currently “modern” pistolcraft. Ernest is a former Marine Corps sniper turned instructor and competitor and has worked for Beretta, Smith & Wesson & Sure Fire. The list of schools he’s attended is lengthy. He has spent the last 28 years or so learning his craft. The other students could shoot, and Ernest spanked us all with a M&P in .357 Sig that looked to handle like a 9mm in his hands, his recoil control is unreal. Not only did we get into the whos and whys but he went deeper in to why the whys are the whys if that makes sense.

Which stance is preferred? Where did the Weaver stance really come from (Jack Weaver couldn’t fully extend his left arm which is why he shot like that) we got answers to all that and then some even going into how the muscles of the hands and wrist work to explain why certain grip techniques work better than others.

We covered a little of the color codes in class as a refresher and talked a little on mindset. Something new to me was focus on the “visualization” of tasks/actions and how they can benefit performance. On a side note while flying to and from the class I managed to read “On Combat” by LtCol. Grossman and he touched on some of these same topics. Reading the book actually tied in very well with this class and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who carries a firearm. Ernest also went into how visualization of scenarios and even the way we phrase such scenarios can improve our mindset and psychological performance. Little things such as using “When” instead of “If”, making it a forced realization that things will go wrong instead of making them hypothetical as to remove denial when things do go wrong…

What was of note during the class room portion on “Training the subconscious”

Basically what that means is that our goal is that our techniques must work at the subconscious level in order to work fluidly under stress. We also need to think about “training stance” movements work at the subconscious level, or rather do what we practice really mesh well with reactive moments. A good example of this was when comparing the Weaver & Isosceles and looking at dash cam footage of officer involved shootings. They couldn’t find one case where an officer ended up in a Weaver style stance, however a modified two handed iso. position could be seen in many cases. Apparently the final straw in trying to find a case of anyone using the Weaver was when the found footage of a known Weaver proponent going to a modern iso. in a shooting.

Regarding the Weaver vs. iso, it’s Ernest’s opinion that the Weaver is fine for planned tactical actions, but the isosceles can be applied as a reactionary response and as such using that method more in training may improve performance under stress as the reactionary response is also a practiced response.

Getting further into the training aspect we covered the three levels of performance.

The first level is basic learning, I’m pretty sure we all know what that is. The second level is focused learning. Range drills; practice sessions, focusing on key elements of shooting. The third level is subconscious execution of actions. Of course no one can just leap to the third level, but with lots and lots of focused training/practice you can increase subconscious reactions/muscle memory/”neural pathways” or whatever buzz word suits your fancy. Bottom line is that you can reach a higher performance level with lots of practice. What also enables subconscious performance is “stress training” in the forms of competition, training classes, and FoF, simunition training, time/speed drills… Things that can take you out of your comfort zone and force you to perform under stress.

Also covered in class was reloading and using the slide stop/release or the slingshot method. I’m sure all of us here have discussed this time and time again, but Ernest brought up some valid points in favor of using the slide stop. Mainly that the sling shot generally requires a little more umph and can be short stroked and actually requires more fine motor skill than using the slide stop/release. Think about it, using your off hand thumb and index finger to retract and let go of the slide is doing more movement with two digits while the using the slide release is usually just done with the thumb of the firing hand. As for the argument that hitting the slide stop with your thumb is a fine motor skill, so is pulling the trigger and dropping a mag but we’re obviously able to do that just fine otherwise we wouldn’t need to be reloading and it takes less movment/number of digits than the slingshot method. And for the record I had two hiccups with my 1911 during the class, each one the result of a flubbed reload using the sling shot method which is now a training scar that has to be removed.

On to the range portion.

We shot a variety of drills starting off with slow fire on what must have been 2” circles painted on IDPA targets with some larger 4” circles at the bottom. I had a hard time keeping my shots in the circles and kept skirting the dots.

The first day is kind of a blur, along with shooting like a noob someone didn’t hydrate all that much in the days before class and that Saturday ended up being around 95 and despite pushing water once we started shooting by the end of the day I was suffering mild heat illness with a splitting headache. Most of my time in between strings of fire was spent loading mags and sucking down water. Note to single stack shooters, bring lots and lots of mags to a training class. This class required a minimum of four mags, I was toting nine to the line and doing well with four more loaded up in the bag in case I needed a fresh batch quickly. You don’t want to run short on the line and you don’t want to waste your time (as well as the other students time) having to load mags every 5 minutes. If you’re shooting a single stack, be it a Kahr, Sig, Walther, whatever, have at least double the amount of required magazines and have at least four on your belt.