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Lets Talk Guns

A Girl and Her Gun: Lets Talk Guns

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lets Talk Guns

As most people who read this blog know, I carry a Glock 27 which shoots a .40 caliber bullet.  I like this gun very much and for my experience I am accurate with it.  I can not unload a magazine into a target and leave a dime size hole, but I can not do that with any gun, yet.

I can, however, shoot a fist sized grouping pretty much anywhere I aim, except recently because I got these new night sites and they are wreaking havoc on my accuracy.  If I am at an indoor range, I can compensate pretty well, most days.  I think because it is dark in there, but when I shot the Glock last Sunday at a bright sunny outdoor range, I was not a happy camper, but that is another post.

For the purposes of this post, I am accurate with the .40.

I have read many, many, many articles about which is the best self defense caliber and been mostly confused by it, but I have focused on the fact that generally speaking most experts agree that shot placement is much more important than the caliber. That coupled with the fact that the people in my life have believed that I should carry as big a caliber as I can handle.  I have never shot a .45, but the .40 I can handle, so I have stuck with it.

A few months ago I read an article I though was posted on Guns, Guns, and More Gosh Darn Guns, (I tried to go back and find the article, but I couldn't.  Maybe if JD is reading this, he can post the link) about the 9mm being a good self defense caliber because the recoil is less and therefore one can get back on target more quickly and since most scenarios will require having to shoot the target more than once, this is an important factor to consider.  At the time I was till concentrating on learning my gun and was not in the market for another one, so I just put that info in the back of my mind and moved on.

A few months later I ran across a video of a guy shooting an XDM 9mm 5.25" and for whatever reason I fell in love with that gun.  It was probably because the guy shooting the gun got so crazy giddy shooting it, that I really wanted to get in on that action. Probably isn't the best reason to purchase your next gun, but it is an improvement over standing in a pawn shop parking lot, alone and buying a gun for the first time from a guy you don't know.

I remembered that article and thought this would be a great 9mm for me.

I watched that video a million times and I started to research the XDM.  Liked everything  I heard and I made up my mind this was the gun for me.

I had never shot a 9mm or a full size gun and I thought it was best that I do that before running out and buying one.

Seeing, learning.

One day at the range I asked a fellow shooter if I could shoot her Smith & Wesson M & P 9mm and she said sure.  I was surprised by how much better I shot with it.  Remembering, of course, that I had been shooting with those icky sites and that was certainly effecting my performance and my mood, but that doesn't negate that where ever I aimed her gun, there went my shot.  It was a full sized gun, I believe and I loved how it felt in my hand.

I didn't realize that sized mattered, but in this case, bigger really was better.  I came home and gave my husband the bad news...

I wanted a new gun and I did not want to wait any longer.

Fortunately, for me, fate intervened and time just didn't allow for us to go get a gun.  I was forced to wait.

Fast forward to last Sunday, I go to the range and while there I get an oppurtunity to shoot the XDM 9mm 4.5" and as I suspected, it was a dream.  I wanted the 5.25", but the 4.5" was a nice size.  Bigger than my Glock 27, but probably still concealable for me as it is much thinner.

I seriously want this gun.

John(that CC guy I am so fond of), gave me a look and said, something to the effect of "You shot the thing once and you might be experiencing the joy that comes from the newness of shooting a new gun."  He probably added some colorful language just to keep it interesting, but the point was well taken.  I had shot a lot of new guns that day and I loved every single one of them, but that didn't mean they should become my everyday carry.  Although if I could find a holster for the LaRue, I think would feel mighty secure.

Anyway, I mentioned the article to him and why I wanted a 9mm and he said, "Well there is one easy way to find out". "Lets time you."

He grabbed a timer and we headed tot he targets.  I shot the XDm first.  I don't remember the time, but it was not impressive.  Then I shot my Glock and the time and accuracy were much improved.  Lastly I shot his M & P and that was the fast and most accurate grouping.

I am not entirely sure I believe the results because I had never been timed before and I was nervous, and the more I shot the more comfortable I became and that had to make a difference on the time and accuracy and plus I need an excuse cuz I really want the XDm:)

Learning from my mistakes is often a slow and painful process.

Something that was pointed out to me about the XDm is the grip safety.  I knew it had a grip safety, but I didn't realize that I have to grip it just right to shoot it and also to rack the slide.  It was suggested that the more I train and the more advanced classes I take, that kind of safety might mess with me a little.

Good point.  Hadn't thought of that.

What I had thought of was that it didn't have a manual safety that I had to disengage.  When I first thought about getting a gun, I wanted one with 7 safeties and never have it loaded when not using it, and it would be locked away, etc., but now the idea of a thumb safety or other manual safety makes me nervous.  I carry concealed, so I don't have a retention holster and with my Glock I just have to grab the gun and it shoots when I am ready.  I like that kind of immediate result.

I know the key to anything is training, but I am worried that if I have 2 different kinds of guns, will I be trained well enough under stress to know which one I have on my hip????

So after all that, I still really want the XDm, but will probably get the M & P. Still a few things to figure out.

The only thing I know for sure is that I am going shopping in January and I am coming home with a 9mm.

**** Quick Note**** I have had the fortune to recently be introduced to some great blogs and I am going to link them here very soon, but the next few days are crazy for me, so in the mean time, click on my link to The Gun Blog Black List.  You will not be disappointed in what you find there.

19 Comments:

At December 16, 2011 at 7:29 AM , Blogger Balloon Goes Up said...

I admittedly don't like the XD's for a variety of reasons, one of which you mentioned. But I thinks Glocks and M&P's are the 2 best choices for a CCW.

One thing you may want to consider is a second Glock (17,19,22,23,34 or 35). If you get a second in .40 they can share mags, all of you training is transferable they can share gear in either caliber.

If you really want something different, the M&P is a great choice and if you shoot it enough the switch between the two won't be that hard.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 7:38 AM , Blogger Newbius said...

I carry an XDm-45 every day and love it. I have shot the M&P 9, and it is a great gun too (and also has a grip safety) but I don't like the trigger as much. I would be happy to meet you at the range with my XDm and maybe a 1911 and let you play with them. More data points are good, right? :)

 
At December 16, 2011 at 8:01 AM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Newbius, do all the M&P's have a grip safety? I didn't think the 2 I shot did.

I would love to meet you at the range!! Absolutely!

Also, I am sorry, I realized I hadn't linked your blog. I honestly thought I had done that a long time ago. I don't actually use my blog roll, I just click on The Gun Blog Blacklist and click on the blogs I am used to reading and any others that might catch my eye.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 8:05 AM , Blogger DebraB said...

I haven't been shooting much more than a yr and have shot many calibers(at BF's request to have the experience) and I prefer a 9mm because of the ability to return to target faster. For me is it about handling, I'm petite and the larger 40 & 45's are more difficult. I currently have a S&W 9mm that is my fav but for carrying I think it will be my Kahr CW9, it's small enough for concealment on my small frame but with the proper ammo can do the job of my FN40. I'm still in a quandary over it but figuring it out is proving to be a fun and informative journey.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 8:15 AM , Blogger poniegirl004 said...

Have a 9 mm XD and love love love it. My husband has the same plus the CD 45 and carries it everywhere. I have super small hands and have no problem with the grip while my husband has huge hands and can just as easily grip it.

We liked the grip safety since we have small kids. We knew we didn't want a thumb safety for speed and fewer hand motions needed but we felt that the grip safety would slow down a three year olds hands if they were to get a hold of it unsupervised.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 8:40 AM , Blogger Newbius said...

You are probably right. It has been a while since I played with one. Looking at the S&W website, the full-size M&Ps do not have the grip safety.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 10:24 AM , Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

Not to confuse or add too much, but one other thing you might want to note is a phenomenon called "Recoil Impulse", which can quickly be described as the period of time your hand will feel the recoil.

That's my one big complaint against .40 S&W is that it is a very high pressure round so the recoil impulse is high. 9mm Luger and .45 ACP are lower pressure so the lower recoil impulse makes them to some feel lower recoil despite their muzzle energy. That being said these differences are all minor, and also one must consider what you have and what you're happy with.

For example I've declared the 9x19mm cartridge the best cartridge for self-defense....but I'm so invested in .45 ACP (which is still a damn good caliber for other reasons) that I still carry a pair of .45s.

Figure out what you like and why you like it.

FYI, All XD pistols have grip safeties (some have thumb safeties) no Glocks or M&Ps have grip safeties but some M&Ps have thumb safeties, and magazine disconnects.

All of the above are not an issue if you like the gun and train with it. That being said, I find magazine disconnects downright dangerous in a gun and advise people to avoid them or have the mechanism disabled if you like a gun that contains one.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 10:44 AM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Thanks everyone!

DebraB, your right, the journey is a fun one and that can not be said about all of life's lessons, so we are fortunate!

Weer'd Beard, I had never heard of a magazine disconnect before, so I had to Google it. So much to learn, but its good. Thank you. So, it is possible to get an M&P without a thumb safety?

I also looked up 9x19mm just to see if that was different from what I have been referring to as 9mm. While reading about it I came across the term Parabellum which is derived from the Latin: Si vis pacem, para bellum, which means "If You Seek Peace, Prepare For War". I am sure everyone here knows that, but I had never heard of it and I love it. Might become my new motto. Well, I guess it has been my motto, but this says it so nicely.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 11:04 AM , Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

Yes you can get all but the M&P22 (which isn't made by S&W and has a bad reputation) with or without the thumb safety. Personally I prefer without.

I have a few articles on my site about magazine disconnects if you want to do some light reading...but its a passion of mine so if you have any questions or concerns I'll probably write a lengthy rant about it.

Yeah cartridge notation is crazy. The round you carry in your LCP has a ZILLION names. .380 Auto, .380 ACP, 9mm Browning Short, 9mm Short, 9mm Kurtz (as well as about half a dozen translations of "Short" in various languages) and 9x17mm.

The last is actually my preferred nomenclature, as its the most logical (tho still has its limitations and silliness). Its called European Notation and its the width of the bullet, and the lenth of the cartridge casing from the mouth to the head (the base).

I'm bored so I think I'll drop a post on it.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 11:08 AM , Blogger JD said...

This is probably the article you were talking about of mine:

http://gunstuff-jd.blogspot.com/2009/12/selecting-handgun-for-defense.html

There's also this recent writing by Rob Pincus
http://www.imakenews.com/valhalla/e_article002168437.cfm?x=bk1b43S%2Cbj7QPlVl%2Cw

As for shooting the 9mm faster etc. There are exceptions to every rule of course. There's the familiarity issue to work with and the XD line of pistols does have a higher bore axis than the M&P or Glock that without a little more know how can related to more muzzle climb.

Now regarding the grip safety of the XD line, it's not that bad a thing but it does bother me that the grip safety prevents the slide from traveling.

The M&Ps do come without the thumb safety. Spend some time on the S&W website looking at M&PS (or better yet download the catalog) and spend LOTS of time looking at the models. I "accidentally" bought a model with a magazine disconnect...while I could have removed that feature, I chose to sell the gun.

The M&P is has a lower bore axis than the XD and is similar to the Glock with a less radical grip angle and is a darn good gun.

Waiting to here more about the icky sights.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 11:31 AM , Blogger Matt W said...

How did your husband react to the news? ;) hah!

Good post and good comments! I like my original XD-45 and dont have an issue with the grip safety.

I am anxious to try an M&P and enjoy shooting Glocks!

 
At December 16, 2011 at 11:31 AM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

JD- yes, yes, yes, those are the articles. I think the one from Rob Pincus is the one I remembered, but I love your article and I remember when I read it thinking, gosh I wish I would have read this earlier. Thank you for posting those links. Great stuff! I absolutely will take your advice and go to the web site. I spent a little time there, but I wasn't sure what all the differences were, now that I have more information, I think I will be able to distinguish from the many, many options. I found one I thought about buying, but John said the sites were not a good choice. Fortunately, he is going to go shopping with me and help steer me away from the junk, but I don't want to rely solely on him. I want to do my research and at the very least understand my choices.

Weer'd what can I say...you rock. I will be on your site momentarily reading, reading, reading.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 1:08 PM , Blogger Pyrotek85 said...

@agirlandhergun
"I also looked up 9x19mm just to see if that was different from what I have been referring to as 9mm."

Yeah the unspoken rule is if it's just written as 9mm they mean 9x19. Besides the .380 (9x17) that Weerd mentioned, there is also 9x18 which is also called 9mm Makarov. It's a decent caliber in between the other two, but I don't think many American guns are chambered in it.

I myself am thankful I have wikipedia, I've had to double check calibers on more than one occasion whenever I'm learning something new. There are tons of other niche calibers that are rarely seen or used, I don't think I'll ever learn them all lol.

 
At December 16, 2011 at 8:08 PM , Blogger 45er said...

If you can shoot a .40 (especially a Glock 27, you can shoot a .45 ACP. I carry a Glock 23 in .40 just one size up from your 27 and it's pretty snappy. My 1911 in .45 is actually easier to shoot. I wouldn't concern myself with having two different guns. Especially polymer models so close in design as the ones you are talking about. The key is to just shoot a lot. As far as I'm concerned, the 9mm is a fantastic round and very easy to shoot.

 
At December 17, 2011 at 12:22 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

LOL, Matt, fortunately, my husband is very secure in all aspects and is might supportive of my wants to include purchasing a new gun:)

 
At December 18, 2011 at 11:53 AM , Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

I have to agree with 45er. I was concerned -- okay, fine, I was a little scared -- about shooting a .45 for the first time, because I'd never fired anything larger than 9mm. (My concerns were groundless; it was fun and I loved it!)

Then I got a chance to take my mother to the range -- we were shooting our respective Beretta 92s -- and I offered her a chance to shoot my .45. She was nervous, just as I had been, and didn't think she could handle it; I said "trust me". She fired off several rounds, grinned hugely, and said, "WOW!! That was fun! I want one."

In short -- try not to pass judgement on .45s until you can test-drive one. I have a feeling you'll like it.

Oh, and I have to say: this is an amazing blog. Yours is a story that needs to be told, loudly and often, and you tell it very well. I'll be back often!

all the best,
Daniel in Brookline

 
At December 18, 2011 at 11:59 AM , Blogger Lila said...

My carry is a HK P2000 in 9mm and I love it. I have my strength issues so I needed something that was easy to rack no matter my strength on any given day and with ambi controls because I am a lefty. So it works for me. I also have tiny hands so the fact I could change grip sizes was a huge bonus and recoil was minimal. It is my fave. I had a Karr .40 before and hated it. I think having a great gun and a great backup is such a must. Do what felt best to shoot. My gun ended up costing more than we expected but I love it!!

 
At December 18, 2011 at 6:08 PM , Blogger Critter said...

Hello. I just signed up and I like your blog already. If I could offer my grand and glorious opinion of what gun to buy next, I think it would be to relax. Go shooting. Burn some gunpowder. Shoot several different makes and see what you like. No one likes everything and after a bit you'll get a feel for what you prefer and get a better handle on how bullet throwing machines in general work. I personally prefer big double action revolvers, but that's not every one's cup of tea. Some folks like SIG's and I wouldn't have one on a bet. But, it's still a free country so we can all get what we want and at this moment in history there's never been so much to choose from in the gun world. So, hit the range. Shooting stuff is fun!

 
At December 20, 2011 at 8:33 AM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Critter, great advice and I am doing my best to follow it. Love to shoot and fortunately, people have been very nice to let me learn on their guns. Never had so much fun figuring something out in my life. Thanks for sharing your experience with me.!!

 

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