Thursday, August 6, 2009

"What I Did This Summer"

I always hated those what-I-did-over-summer-vacation essays that we had to write at the beginning of each school year. In my mind, the freedom and fun of summer break should have been completely walled off from the drudgery of the classroom.

(It's not that I'm against education, it's that I believe "school" is the least efficient way to get one.)

So, here I am writing an essay about the vacation my family took last week -- the first in several years. Actually, I want to tell about the last leg of our holiday (as the Brits would say).

We spent the last two nights of our time away at my barber's house in Pennsylvania. He and his wife graciously put us up and put up with us over Saturday and Sunday nights.

My barber is a not only a consummate pistolero, he is also a raconteur extraordinaire. He can hit man-size targets with a pistol out to 100 yards, and he can regale you with his most interesting and humorous experiences while he's doing it.

I got a refreshing dose of those stories at the shooting range where I also had the opportunity to shoot his H&K Mark 23 and his son's Kimber Warrior.

Since I'd never fired a suppressed weapon before, the Mark 23 was a new experience. It is made to be used with the sound suppressor, and I was surprised how attaching the suppressor improved the balance of the weapon.

You can use the suppressor dry or with 5cc of water to increase sound suppression. Neither mode is really assassain-quiet, although they both reduce noise below the threshold of pain.

I have to say that the Mark 23's bulky grip was not comfortable in my hands. (I have large hands, but relatively short fingers.) It would take some serious training for me to become proficient with it.

The Kimber has an alloy frame, which makes it rather light for a 1911. Because of this, my barber told me that you need to take as high a grip as possible to minimize muzzle rise.

To complicate matters, that particular batch of ammo stovepiped a lot. That tends to break your focus.

I tried point shooting as well as the sights, and my performance with the light Kimber was not stellar. I actually like the heft of my old .45.

Don't get me wrong. Both weapons have great potential in the right hands, as my barber demonstrated. They're just not for me, and that's good because it allowed me to walk away from the experience without coveting a couple of handguns that I simply cannot afford.

Our range time was just a small part of the experience. In another post I'll tell you about the little Lutheran grandmother who should get a prize for her improvised self-defense weaponry.


Stephen Boyd said...

I completely agree! Essays never were my strongpoint.

Wow! Sounds like a fun time was had by all. Glad y'all could find the funds to burn some ammo.

Man sized target at 100 yds???!!!
Good for him!

I assume both handguns were .45 acp?

Out of curiosity, what is your personal opinion of suppressors? I always thought the wear they caused on the weapon wasn't worth it.

Gravelbelly said...

My barber supplied the ammo. He's not wealthy, but he is the most dedicated shooter I've met. We burned 100 rounds.

Yes, both arms were .45's. When I use the term "large bore" in reference to my barber, I'm definitely not talking about his personality.

I don't have enough experience with suppressors to answer your question with any authority. The sound suppressor on the Mark 23 also serves as a flash suppressor, which reduces the weapon's night signature.

I always thought sound suppressors were only good on subsonic rounds, but my barber says the "crack" of a supersonic round takes place downrange from the weapon that fires it. In that case, it would seem that a sound suppressor on a combat rifle should reduce both muzzle flash as well as muzzle blast.

Perhaps some more experienced and informed reader will be kind enough to address your question.

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Sounds like fun...reminds me of how much I hate to live where I live. :-)

Trying things out and liking, or not liking them, is always good. It's good to get a feel....


P.S. I was gone for the weekend. Brought my Leatherman this time...and used it. :-D