Posted by: exodus | May 8, 2009

Shooting at Red’s

I took the noob shooters to Red’s yesterday.

I picked up Tom at his place and from there we went to Cabela’s for whatever extra gear was deemed necessary for him – all he had at this point was a brand-new never fired XD 9 and some ammo.

He grabbed some eyes and ears, and decided on the spot that since 9mm loaded ammo was scarce, that he wanted to learn reloading. Okely dokely then. Easier said than done, he has zero equipment right now… I grabbed a case of that 12ga from one of the storied pallets I mentioned in an earlier post. Cheap… but once I opened the cardboard box I realized that I could get the same ammo (Winchester Super X) even cheaper elsewhere. I grabbed 500 115gr 9mm projectiles too – Berry’s plated stuff. Plus one box of Win Silver tip .45 ACP since I build up defense ammo reserves slowly but steadily.

We met up with Craig at the range and rented two lanes. I spent most of my time teaching grip-fu technology to the shooters, and reinforcing muzzle discipline (not that it was a problem, I was just determined that it NOT be a problem.) I had Craig in the 8 ring with his first shot – Tom was in the 9 ring. I grabbed Craig’s pistol after his first 2 8 ring hits and popped the X out of the target on the first shot. I forgot how nice that Hardballer shot… and Craig now knew that if the gun didn’t hit where he wanted it to, well, that was all him.

Tom was doing OK; I spent time on his grip but I spent more time with Craig since his shooting experience was practically nil. Once everyone was comfortable shooting at all, I set about working on trigger reset awareness, and use. Craig had a hard time pressing and holding the trigger – the gun would go bang and he’d forget to keep holding. S’ok, I had the same problem initially too.

All in all Craig and Tom shot pretty well. Craig’s groups were slowly opening up from fatigue – Tom’s from impatience. He said his hand was hurting and I think he was pressing on his left scaphoid bone with his right thumb – another common issue. He’s got gorilla hands so I think he really was putting pressure on it, as he was stringing up and down the left side of his target.

As far as my shooting went, as much as I like the M&P overall, I’m having a little trouble with the trigger. The trigger that is so crisp and solid, if a bit heavy, when dry firing the pistol becomes something of a liability in my hands when shooting at paper. The pointability that I so admire in the pistol when bringing it to bear becomes a nose that too-easily turns when I apply the necessary pressure to the heavy trigger. Suffice it to say, left, left, left.

Now to be fair, I was concentrating on trigger reset shooting more than slow fire, but still, I was shooting left much worse than I did with the CZ-75 within the same exercise. My M&P 9 doesn’t have the magazine disconnect either, so it’s about as good a factory trigger as they offer. So, either the trigger will get better with shooting (as I expect) or I’m going to have to break down and get some trigger work done.

Afterward, we went to eat and then back to my house for cleaning and lots of enthusiastic n00b gun talk and questions. I think Craig felt a little bad about his pistol’s disassembly and reassembly – a 1911 with a full length guide rod, versus our easily taken down plastic fantastics. But that’s the name of the game. Nobody really enjoys the swingy toggle link game on reassembly. It’s good for him though.

All in all a fun outing. I just wish I’d shot better. Maybe the KR kids have some suggestions for shooting straight with a lightweight pistol and a relatively heavy trigger break? (If you say “XD” I will not be amused.)



  1. No such thing as a bad day at the range, no matter how poorly you might or might not have shot. Good to hear that it was an educational experience for your newbies, and congratulations on being able to coach that well.

    Assuming the rain here ever breaks, I hope to head out to the shooty place tomorrow myself… been way too long.

  2. XD

    OK OK I had to!

    Actually, work the trigger and see if it lightens with use, do some research on trigger jobs for the M&P, buy an XD, dry fire dry fire dry fire.

    Play with your finger position on the trigger when you dry fire! Experiment with moving your finger in or out just a tiny bit and repeat. see if you can get to the point of having enough finger to work teh heavier trigger pull but can still get the final pull straight down the bore.

  3. Dang. I was going to say XD but TXGunGeek beat me to it. 😉

    I’ll second the dry fire to help break in the trigger. I just did this with a Bushmaster:

    and it made a world of difference.

    On the finger position stuff, try doing that in conjunction with the Wall Drill:

  4. Hsoi, thanks for the links! I’m considering getting a trigger job for it, and the blank/fiber optic sights too. I fear for dry firing it too much, heard about broken firing pins.

    I like the wall drill though.

    Which AR did I out-shoot you with a few weeks ago? 😉 Was it the Bushmaster? The trigger must have been nice, I had no complaints. I did get a JP trigger spring set for mine, based on your recommendation. For $10 I figure, how bad could it be?

  5. I will get an XD eventually, Mr. Gun Geek. I really will.

    The main M&P smith (Burwell) is swamped right now. I’ll see if Hank Fleming wants to mess with it.

    I still fear for dry firing this thing too much… I’d be awfully pissed if I broke something.

  6. Thanks Linoge. I actually enjoy teaching and coaching. I wonder what it takes to be NRA certified?

    Did you ever get to shooting?

  7. Man, if the M&P can’t take dry firing, that doesn’t seem right. Can you get snap caps to counter it? Gosh… that just doesn’t seem right.

    As for the AR, no not the Bushmaster. That was my Rock River Arms with the 2-stage match trigger. A very sweet trigger.

  8. Dock, Call Karl about getting your NRA certification. He has an instructor certification class coming up.

  9. Hsoi – there’s some controversy as to whether an M&P will break if you dry fire it empty, or with snap caps in place. It probably isn’t an issue but you know how it is when you research your chosen product on the forums. You always find horror stories – always.

    So either it’s ok to dry fire, or it’ll break, or it’s ok to use snap caps, or THAT makes it break… *sigh*

    Nice trigger. I guess I didn’t notice because all my previous ARs had 2 stage triggers. To me that’s “normal.” The things we take for granted… 🙂

  10. Geek, I’ll do that then. Seems like a smart thing to do… and I sure have time. Thanks!

  11. IMHO, if she’s too fragile to dry fire and you can’t trust it to dry fire, what the hell can you trust it for? I mean, not dry firing a rimfire is a different story, but an M&P? Heck….

    And if it does break while dry firing, what would S&W have to say? Would they fix it? Is S&W aware of any such issues and/or have a public comment?

    I do accept that things break. It’s mechanical, it’s breakable, that’s life. But if things are THAT bad with the M&P well… but you’re right, when you do your research on t3h int3rtub3z, it’s tough to sort the wheat from the chaff. Hopefully you can find some definitive statement on this.

    Glad you liked the AR’s trigger. I’ve only heard good things about RRA’s 2-stage match triggers, and I didn’t really appreciate it until I used the Bushmaster trigger… I guess all other AR triggers I’ve tried have been great ones too (didn’t keep any tally). This isn’t to say the Bushmaster’s trigger is bad, but it’s not the RRA 2-stager. I have thought about putting in a new trigger on the Bushy but I dunno… not a high priority and not critical either. Of course, any time we’re out, you’re always welcome to shoot any of my guns and give that trigger some love. 🙂

  12. Okely dokely then.

    Read the owners manual – I could have sworn I saw a “no dry fire” warning (among the pages and pages of BIG RED LETTER WARNINGS – DO NOT INSERT IN BUTT AND STRIKE WITH HAMMER! DO NOT POINT AT THE CREATURE!) but alas, I saw no such thing upon a new reading.

    The Smith and Wesson FAQ says that unless it’s a rimfire, you can dry fire it. OK then.

    I just dry fired it 1000 times. Still goes clicky. Happy now? 😉

    Sumbitch still feels a bit heavy…

    I appreciate you letting me shoot your AR. I’ll bring mine next time for sure. Then you can see how sucky my trigger is…

  13. Whoo hoo! Let’s hear it for peer pressure! 😉

    I’m sure that the trigger didn’t lighten up too much, but hopefully it smoothed out a little bit. Plus hopefully your technique with it may be a bit better.

    If nothing else, hopefully you’ve got confidence the thing ain’t going to break! But just watch, dry fire #1001 will be what does it. 😉

  14. Hsoi – yeah, I feel like it won’t break. But like you say… it would figure that it would pop next shot.

    I messed with the wall drill a bit, and I think applying “throttle” to the grip with both hands (like on the bike) steadies the firearm a bit more, and lets me pull straight back a bit better.

  15. What do you mean “throttle”? I mean, I understand the bike reference, but in terms of this.

    Are you meaning that you grip the pistol but then with that grip you are twisting as if opening up the throttle? in this case then like you’re pulling apart your palms, so to speak?

  16. Hsoi – but for the pulling apart the palms part, yes. It seems to smoosh the palms toward each other, for me.

    I picked it up from one of the Army Marksmanship competition shooters, during a not-so-carefully edited moment on one of the Shotgun City* shows. It’s basically like twisting the throttle on a bike (to give it more go) but with both hands. It seems to stabilize the gun pretty well but of course, it can be overdone.

    It can actually be made to come in at the last 1/4 of the extension and it works rather nicely. Or at least it seems to for me, right now…

    *Shotgun City = any of the shows from “Wednesday Night at the Range” on Outdoor, according to Joy

  17. Ah OK. Yeah, it sorta pulls them apart at the fingers but smooshes them together at the palm heel. I see what you’re doing. Interesting.

    I actually just got Outdoor Channel and had my first riveting Wednesday evening last night. My wife just groaned…. 🙂

  18. Try that extra grip torque and let me know what you think.

    I do love the Outdoor Channel. Maybe too much. TV is ultimately bad for you…

  19. Next time I get to the range I’ll try it out.

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