Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Blade-Tech Training Barrel.

On a whim, I picked up one of these babies a while back. It's a pretty brilliant concept - a molded-plastic barrel that replaces your regular one and renders the gun completely* safe for dry-fire. Like everything, the training barrel is a mixed bag.

The good news is, of course, that dry-fire is noticeably more idiot-proof. There is certainly still some risk - for instance, since the barrel is not visible from the rear of the gun, it's entirely possible to complete a drawstroke thinking that the training barrel is in when it isn't. It does add another fence to jump over, however, one that requires a field strip to traverse, and the training barrel is painfully conspicuous from every other angle - and it protrudes several millimeters from the muzzle. This allows completely* safe practice of draws, speed reloads, tac reloads, trigger pulling, and such. Trigger manipulation seems unaffected. I had a small bit of trouble

The downsides...one, there is no chamber. While this is of course a feature instead of a bug, this means that malf clearance practice isn't going to happen**, and unless you use a Blue Mag you're not going to be able to even run immediate action drills. Furthermore, if you're unsettled by the prospect of extended dryfire without a snap cap, you're SOL. The ideal would be a setup like the Glock 17R (3rd gun down - bandwidth and ooh shiny warning) - a completely functional gun, but the slide lacks a striker port and the barrel is actually a piece of steel drilled perpendicular to the bore; even if a real round ended up in there, it couldn't go off, and if it did the explosion would be vented out ports drilled in the chamber. Not likely to justify that sort of expense, of course...

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* No Such Beast.
** Actually, it's type 3 (doublefeed) practice for goldfish. Hey, a doublefeed! Tap-rack-noclick-lock-rip-rack-rack-rack-load-hey, a doublefeed! (repeat until you run out of dummy rounds.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

On Breaking the Shot.

Shooting airgun has allowed me to really bone up on shot calling, and I'm starting to see a good shot as the product of two interconnected processes: technique and targeting. Bear with me if this seems really obvious.

The former is the 'gun-shooter interface;' grip, stance, hold, sight alignment and focus, and (most critically) trigger pull. If these fundamentals are performed correctly, the shot will go where the aim-point is; let's assume the sights are properly regulated/adjusted for a given load.

The latter is aligning the aim-point with where you want the projectile to go on the target. At 6m with an air rifle, this is a point-and-shoot deal; presumably, at range with a rifle one will get into the nuts and bolts of wind, atmospheric effects, etc.

Essentially, if you get the technique right, you should be able to tell where the bullet goes if you're watching the front sight. This is 'calling the shot,' what Brian Enos considers the single most important skill to master for high-speed pistol shooting, or indeed any high-level shooting. Other than total confidence with your gun-shooter 'weapons system,' knowing where the bullets are landing before they hit means you can, for instance, pick up missed shots the moment you let off the meandering round, with the only delay your perceptual response.

Thus, with correct technique, even incorrectly targeted rounds are 'half credit.' Knowing is half the battle, indeed. I personally am at least somewhat satisfied with a flier if I can call the flier. Still aggravating as hell to open up that nice, happy 1cm group, but at least I have a feedback loop going.

Much more frustrating is a bad shot, where the technique didn't happen. Sometimes you can feel it, other times you read the target and it doesn't conform to what the sights said. Even if the round wiggles its way into the bullseye, it didn't really deserve to be there, so I don't like to count it as a 'hit.' In fact, if I have a tight, slightly off center group where I could account for every round, I consider that ideal.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On Rimfire. (Cont'd.)

California's AWB begins with "any centerfire rifle." That's right, evil features are a-ok on any rifle using a different priming method.

While working up an AR-type rifle in .22 WMR, .17 HMR, or even .41 Swiss certainly has potential, I wonder if somehow we can resurrect the pinfire. Use a two-part case that can be disassembled to remove the 'pin,' and a standard rifle primer mounted sideways that can be decapped an re-primed somehow. There'd be issues with fragility, and stacking and then aligning the pin with the chamber. I'm thinking a pin would be easier than a cylindrical case with a side primer, since there's no projection there to align and actually hitting the damn thing would be a crapshoot.

That, or someone could cook up a rimfire 5.56x45mm. Merely for malicious compliance purposes, of course.