Friday, May 29, 2015

Lessons From Using The M&P9 And The H&K P30 At The Range

Finally got to the range again and it's been much too long, and it showed. Lesson #1 - more practice makes Aaron a better shooter.

I met a client of mine at the range, where we're both members, and what better way is there to entertain a client than at a shooting range?

I shot both my M&P 9 and My H&K P30.

First we shot a course of 18 steel targets that he had setup - poppers, chuckies (also known to others as mini-poppers) and ten plates.

From a holster and with a magazine change (10 rounds in each mag) I was shooting and getting all targets down in about 25 seconds, occasionally less, as we ran with my timer and took down the times for comparison.

I was clearly more familiar with the M&P 9 but was consistently only 1 second faster on each run using it over the P30. The P30's sights were more zeroed than the M&P. In fact the P30's sights were dead on. The M&P's however were slightly off to the right, complicating good hits on the farther small poppers. The M&P trigger was easier than the P30's but that didn't add nearly as much time to the P30's runs as I would have expected. 1 Second over 18 targets isn't a huge gap, especially when I've been shooting the M&P9 for years and have only 200 rounds through the P30.

Lesson #2 happened when I suggested we do some FAST drills and that drill really showed that I need lots more practice.

From a personal best of 7.66 seconds back when I took the AFHF class, I was now up to 10 seconds with the H&K P30 -- and with a good reason.

Whether it was regular use of the M&P combined with lack of regular use of the P30, I consistently hit the slide release rather than the magazine release paddle whenever I went to do the reload, which caused my time to suck rocks. Instead of a nice smooth magazine change I had to then hit the mag paddle, change mags and rack the slide - every time I did the drill. This resulted in the 10.8 and 10 second runs with the fastest a 9.4. The slide release on the HK for whatever reason was just beckoning to be unconsciously pressed every darn time I did a mag change. I think this was a leftover from regularly pressing the M&P's magazine release button which is close to where the slide release on the HK is as opposed to the location of the paddle release on the trigger guard.

It goes to show that shifting between different firearms with quite different magazine release locations can certainly slow you down.

Interestingly, on the clock with the poppers that mistake did not happen so it was likely the pressure to really drive down the time on the FAST drill had me consistently flubbing the reload by unconsciously hitting the slide release rather than the paddle as I really was trying to best my scores. On the plus side, the P30 was flawless for another 100 rounds, and it actually fits perfectly into the kydex NTAC holster I have for the M&P 9 (as does the Glock 17 for that matter - this thing is practically a universal holster). The P30 also fit the hand better than the M&P 9 and lined up on target very nicely. It was also reassuring to slowly holster it while holding the hammer down with my thumb as an extra level of safety to prevent an discharge while re-holstering. The M&P 9 also ran perfectly for another 100 rounds.

On the upside, even with the fumbles I still shot better and faster than my client so my ego, while bruised, wasn't completely battered. It was bruised enough to know that more practice and familiarization with the P30, and shooting in general, is clearly indicated.

I still need to find more mags for the P30 at close to MSRP prices.


Murphy's Law said...

So, counselor...did you bill the client for this range session?

Aaron said...

Nope, it was a free consult - both in terms of a little informal shooting instruction and discussion of the client's presenting legal issue.