Sunday, January 16, 2005

Range Time with the XD-9 and the Ladies

My range membership is up this week. I have the gold membership which gives me free rentals and range time for a $250 yearly fee. I did this because I wanted lots of range time and access to a wide variety of guns so I could figure out what I liked through experience. It was a good plan. I now know what I like and own several guns.

But now I've shot my way through the rental selection and I'm wondering if I should look towards a less costly range like Ommelanden in New Castle or the range at Elk Neck State Park. My brother is my shooting buddy and he may be moving soon so he's reluctant to re-up as well. I may go with a cheaper plan that covers range time but leaves out rentals.

This weeks gun was the Springfield XD-9. I shot the 4" service model in "blue". Incidentally, if you ever buy one of these guns, make sure you avoid the standard matte blue finish. It wears very poorly and that was already apparent on the range rentals. The bitone is prettier and wears better.

Anyway the XD is actually a Croatian gun that attempts to take the best parts of Glocks and Sigs and marry them together. It is striker fired with a polymer frame like a Glock. But it has a sig-esque slide and take-down system. They use a trigger safety similar to the Glock, but add a grip safety to prevent accidental or negligent discharges which are the bane of Glock existence.

I hate Glocks. It's not that they are polymer. I used to be a composites engineer so that doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's that the little trigger safety on the gun digs into the tip of my finger. The XD trigger safety is much broader and doesn't do that.

All and all I shot it ok. No failures to feed or fire. Some have reported first shot fliers with this gun, but I didn't have any trouble. Maybe it's that I'm not really accurate enough to tell.

On curious thing. There were a lot of women at the range today. Now there are usually one or two. Some guy brings his girlfriend, wife, daughter, etc. But this time there were a three or four in multiple groups.

The group of girls that set up next to me had never shot a gun before. I tried to give them a few pointers and made sure that they were loading their guns properly and give them pointers on form. More importantly for a novice shooting next to me, I also made sure they were observing basic range safety rules. They were.

The girls had a bit of trouble with the gun they were shooting though. The ladies weren't mechanically inclined. Their beretta .380 automatic was somewhat mechanically complex for them. Plus some idiot must have thought a little gun would be easier to shoot so he gave them that beretta.

For those out there that don't know, little guns recoil more than big ones because they weight less. Don't give someone that might be recoil sensitive (like a woman, sorry ladies to whom this doesn't apply) a recoilful gun. It isn't fun. Especially avoid giving a novice a recoilful gun. Their lack of skill and poor form will magnify the problems and pain of recoil. It will also discourage them from further pursuing the enjoyable pastime of pistolcraft.

The group they were with also had a nice heavy revolver. They seemed to take to that a lot better. The bullets could only go in one way and the gun was heavy enough to take the bite out of the recoil. Good for them. One of them seemed to be enjoying herself by the time I left.

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