Caracal Safety Recall

Damnit.  It appears that a Caracal pistol discharged when it was dropped.  Caracal has issued a recall that covers pretty much every Caracal imported into the US.

Link, with updates.

At least one person has been unable to replicate this malfunction, so my guess is that there’s a tolerance stacking issue with the firing pin block or its related parts.

This is not good news for Caracal.  But, they seem determined to deal with the problem in a professional manner.  Offering to buy back guns subject to the recall is something I’ve never heard of in this industry.

Stay tuned for more news.

-C

Weekend Wrap-Up

I was down in North Carolina this weekend, shooting the Tidewater 3-Gun match.  It was a good time as always, especially as the rain stopped just as the first stage started.

I’ve lately been trying out that trendy new shotgun quad load.  I’m not as fast with it as I am loading weakhand, but it’s getting better.  I might need to order some more carriers soon.  On the other hand, my pistol shooting was a little bit sloppy.  I’ve been spending most of my dryfire time working on that shotgun reload, and it’s showing a little bit.  Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I should have some photos up soon.  Stay tuned.

Someday, It Will be Mine…

I wandered up to my friendly neighborhood arms dealer yesterday morning, to start the paperwork on a new Gen4 Glock 34.  Much to my delight, my Caracal F was there too, and I spent a few minutes checking it out.

Sorry for the lousy cellphone pic. Left my real camera in the car.

- The build quality on my Caracal was first-rate, at least to a visual inspection.  There were no visible machining marks, the finish was nicely applied, etc.  Overall, the Caracal gave the impression of being a quality piece.

- The trigger is wonderful.

- The sights…  well, there’s nothing wrong with them that a 5/32″ carbide ball end mill won’t fix.  The Caracal standard sights share the same problem as many other factory guns – the front sight is too wide, the rear sight is too narrow, and having the rear sight integral to the slide makes replacement, um, complicated.  This is one of those times when having a gunsmith in the family is really nice.

The Caracal is presently tied up in the bureaucratic hell that is the Maryland Handgun Roster Board, but it should be in my hands by mid-October.  I’m looking forward to running it through some heavy testing.

Thanks to Bob at Shooting Ventures for handling all the paperwork.  If you need a gun transfered in Maryland, he’s the man to see.

Running the Glock Trigger

Glocks are not, in my opinion, easy guns to shoot.

There are two types of triggers that lend themselves to natural accuracy, and selecting between them is mostly a matter of personal preference.  The first type is the classic “glass rod” trigger – short and light takeup, crisp break, and very little overtravel.  This type of trigger is normally represented in the 1911-pattern gun.  The second type of trigger is often described as a “rolling break” – constant weight across the full trigger travel, indistinct break, and lots of overtravel.  This type of trigger is commonly found in old DAO revolvers, and the new Caracal pistol has an excellent example of a rolling break.

Glocks have neither type of trigger; a typical Glock trigger has a fairly heavy takeup, a distinct break, and lots of overtravel.  This makes the Glock very sensitive to trigger finger position. A little bit too much/too little trigger finger, and you start getting wide shots left and right.

So what to do? Well, you can try removing some of the overtravel from your trigger. Lone Wolf Distributing sells a Glock trigger housing with an overtravel screw installed, or you could try a Ghost Rocket connector. I’ve tried both, with limited success.

You can also play with you trigger finger position, to ensure that you are moving the trigger straight to the rear. I’ve found that I need to use only the barest tip of my finger to press the trigger. Others have reported that they pull the trigger with the crease of the first knuckle.

When you dryfire, keep an eye on how the front sight moves. Any significant lateral movement during dryfire means the trigger is bearing to one side during the overtravel. Try doing twenty reps of a perfect trigger press with your normal finger position, twenty reps with a lot more finger, and twenty reps with a lot less finger. See which finger position yields the least sight movement. A laser sight can be really useful for this drill, as it makes lateral shake at the muzzle very easy to see.

-C

Lancer Systems L15 Lower Receiver and Quickmag

One of the things at SHOT that I think will be of interest to a lot of 3 Gun shooters is the new modular receiver system that Lancer has released, the L15. It uses a pin and slot system so you can swap out mag wells on your rifle.

The Lancer L15 system with no attached magazine well, showing the attachment points.

This is what it looks like with the competition mag well installed.

Swapping magazine wells with this system is just a matter of knocking out one pin, sliding the current mag well off, and replacing it with the one you want to use.

The other cool thing that Lancer had on display, and one that a lot of 3 Gun shooters will be interested in is their Quickmag system. While it looks like products that are already on the market that allow you to carry an additional magazine on the gun, the Quickmag is designed in such a way that when you press the button to release the spare magazine, it also activates the magazine release on your rifle. Basically, with the push of a single button, you can dump your empty and release a fresh magazine. It was extremely easy to use this product to execute a rifle reload in a second or less. It was cool enough that it’s the one product I actually shot video of:

The Quickmag design is still being refined, and they’re hoping to release it later this year.

BATFE Releases Study on the “Importability of Sporting Shotguns”

Over at his blog, Michael Bane has posted up his initial reaction the BATFE’s study on the importability of certain shotguns.

There were rumors about this flying around at SHOT, though the reps there refused to comment on it at all. Most of the rumors were centered around whether they would allow Saiga shotguns to be imported, or possibly the legality of the Taurus Raging Judge.

Well, it turns out that the rumors were more or less true with regard to semi-auto shotgun, primarily the Saiga, though ATF basically takes a screaming leap from the supposed sporting suitability of box magazine-fed shotguns and straight into tube-fed magazine land.

In a specific bout of stupidity, they make the following statement on page 15:

In regard to sporting purposes, the working group found no appreciable difference between integral tube magazines and removable box magazines. Each type allowed for rapid loading, reloading, and firing of ammunition. For example, “speed loaders” are available for shotguns with tube-type magazines. These speed loaders are designed to be preloaded with shotgun shells and can reload a shotgun with a tube-type magazine in less time than it takes to change a detachable magazine.

So, basically, all shotguns with magazine tubes are the same thing as a Saiga with a 25-round drum because open-division shooters use tech loaders to execute fast reloads. Never mind that use of these reloading systems takes a lot of practice, just the right technique, and if you screw it up in the least, you end up squirting shells everywhere but into the gun itself. Also, such setups are so rare outside of the world of Open Division 3-Gun, that I have yet to see them used anywhere else at all.

To quote a friend of mine:

That’s like classifying a mini van as a sports car because The Stig can flog it around the track faster than Grandma can make it in a 911.

Then, near the conclusion of the study is this particular gem:

The USPSA currently reports approximately 19,000 members that participate in shooting events throughout the United States.32 While USPSA’s reported membership is within the range of members for some other shotgun shooting organizations,33 organizations involved in shotgun hunting of particular game such as ducks, pheasants and quail indicate significantly more members than any of the target shooting organizations.34 Because a determination on the sporting purpose of practical shooting events should be made only after an in-depth study of those events, the working group determined that it was not appropriate to use this shotgun study to make a definitive conclusion as to whether practical shooting events are “sporting” for purposes of section 925(d)(3). Any such study must include rifles, shotguns and handguns
because practical shooting events use all of these firearms, and a change in position by ATF on practical shooting or “police/combat-type” competitions may have an impact on the sporting suitability of rifles and handguns. Further, while it is clear that shotguns are used at certain practical shooting events, it is unclear whether shotgun use is so prevalent that it is “generally recognized” as a sporting purpose. If shotgun use is not sufficiently popular at such events, practical shooting would have no effect on any sporting suitability determination of shotguns.

Therefore, it would be impractical to make a determination based upon one component or aspect of the practical shooting competitions.

Despite the obvious presence of winners, losers, time limits, spectators, trophies, brightly-colored jerseys emblazoned with sponsorship logos, thousands of competitors, and national TV coverage, BATFE isn’t actually sure if 3-Gun is a sport. That’s the sort of insipid mouth-breathing bureaucratic stupidity you could only find this side of ten DMVs.

Then they go and drop this:

As a result, the working group based the following sporting suitability criteria on the traditional sports of hunting, trap and skeet target shooting.

In other words, a sport isn’t a sport unless it conforms to the notions of what a shotgun game is circa 1843.

I haven’t finished reading the whole thing, but there generally seems to be a lot of unpleasantness for pretty much anyone interested in shotguns that incorporate any sort of technological advancement made in the last 70 years or so.

Admittedly, this post focuses primarily on BATFE’s opinion of what constitutes a sport. However, Michael Bane really cuts to the heart of the matter in his post when he stated this:

The big issue here isn’t whether ATF recognizes practical shooting as “legitimate” sports…the issue is that the “sporting purposes” clause itself is BS from the ground up.

Four paragraphs of ranting on my side, and he cuts the whole thing down to size with one sentence.

On the bright side of things, this is just a study with a policy recommendation at the end, and, as I understand it, doesn’t carry the weight of law or regulation with it.

Yet.

Mass Murder and High Capacity Magazines

So in the wake of the Tucson shooting, the typical agitators on the left have been typically agitating about how it’s such a damned big travesty that American citizens can actually own “high capacity” magazines. While wringing their hands, they blather on, “Why would anyone need to own such a device!” they cry.

In reading a lot of the forums and blogs, I see a lot of gun owners trying to formulate arguments against instituting a new magazine capacity ban similar to the one we all lived under from 1994-2004. If you find yourself in a position of having to defend ownership of magazines, you’ve already lost. To someone who doesn’t own guns, a 30-round magazine can seem to be quite the threatening object, so you’re already at a disadvantage.

Trying to claim that 30 round magazines are useful for self defense may be true, but to the non-familiar, they’re going to think you’re an overly paranoid lunatic.

Likewise, defending ownership of them because “you like them” or “use them for competition” or “because I should be able to own them” makes you look like an insensitive jerk. After all, to the outsider, forcing you to have to reload more often during a course of fire is a small price to pay to save the lives of innocent children.

So, if confronted with a discussion about instituting a ban on so-called “high capacity” magazines, it’s extremely important to re-frame the debate. You must change the focus from one of discussing magazine capacity (ZOMG 30 ROUNDS WHO WOULD EVER NEED THAT!) to one of effectively instituting policies that have an actual impact on violent crime.

The first thing you should point out?

There already was a ban on magazines that held more than ten rounds. It lasted for ten years. In that time, not one single solitary peer-reviewed study showed that the magazine ban had any effect on violent crime at all.
If a magazine ban actually worked, they should be able to provide proof.

Next?
Ask them to explain how they intend to effectively enforce a ban on objects that are roughly the size of a candy bar, completely untraceable, and are already possessed by tens of millions of US citizens.
Seriously, a magazine ban would be a nightmare to enforce. It’d be like trying to ban iPods, but worse, because magazines are much cheaper than iPods, and gun owners are a much more rabid group than eve Apple fan boys.

Point out this:
If magazine capacity had an actual effect on the effectiveness of mass killers, then you’d see a direct relationship between deaths and magazine capacity.
This isn’t the case. Seung-Hui Cho had no 30 round magazines, yet managed to kill five times as many people. John Allan Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo killed nearly twice as many people as Laughner, and they only fired one or two shots per incident. Charles Whitman killed more than two and a half times as many people as Laughner, and this was long before the days of Glock 19s or 30 round magazines.

And finally:
If they are still in favor of making possession of these sorts of magazines illegal, then ask them to justify the arrest, trial, and conviction of millions of people merely for possessing some stamped sheet metal/extruded plastic with a spring inside. Seriously. Is it really worth it to incur all of the costs associated with trying, convicting, and imprisoning all of these people, merely because they have a magazine that holds more than ten rounds?

It should be pretty easy to convert any fence-sitter using these arguments, and if that doesn’t work, have fun making the gun control true-believers look stupid.

SHOT Show, Day the First

Okay, yeah, it’s the second day for most of you.

Got into Vegas last night, checked into the Wynn (highly recommended,) and crashed. Today was out first day out on the floor, and we saw some interesting stuff. Dig it:

iShot – Now I don’t shoot a whole lot of IDPA, but iShot has an IDPA concealment vest that is all kinds of slick. Not too many pockets, sleeves in the front for concealing a couple of flexicuffs, abrasion-resistant material on the inside that falls right where you’d wear your pistol and holster, and removable flaps on the outside pockets for dumping magazines. As an added bonus, the vest is not so horribly ugly that you couldn’t wear it out to the grocery store.

Tactical Solutions – TacSol is shipping a 50-rd. drum magazine for the AR-22 or Ruger 10/22 (interchangeable feed tower.) It looks pretty solid, and is designed to be very easy to load. I’m trying to get my hands on a demo unit, because this thing might be real handy for a dedicated .22LR trainer.

Pics and more stuff, coming soon. We’re gonna go eat dinner and see Penn and Teller…

-C

Running the Numbers on AIWB Carry.

So, I’ve lately been having some second thoughts about appendix carry.  Like most of my second thoughts, these were occasioned by a really crappy practice session.  Without going into too many details*, I had occasion to wonder whether this whole AIWB thing was really for me.

So, I decided to run some numbers.  This afternoon, I ran three drills using the same gun, once from the CCC Looper AIWB holster, then again from the CCC Quick Cover strong-side IWB holster.  The results were interesting.

The first drill was simple.  2 shots on a 6″ circle at 7 yards, from the holster, freestyle, repeat 10x.  Average first shot time from the strong-side holster was 1.71 seconds, with one miss.  With the AIWB, average first shot ran to 1.63 seconds with 2 misses.  Oddly, I managed to let my cover garment screw up my draw twice from the strong side, which didn’t help the time at all.

The second drill was intended to test reloading speed.  Draw, fire 1 shot, reload from slide lock, then fire 2 more shots.  Same target, same distance.  I ran this drill 5 times with each holster.  From the strong-side holster, I averaged a 2.03sec. reload.  From the AIWB, I was averaging 2.40sec., about half a second slower.  This is consistent with reports from other people who run AIWB with a closed-front cover garment.

The last drill was just to draw and fire two shots, strong hand only.  Again, I used the same 6″ target at 7 yards.  And again, the AIWB holster was a little slower, averaging 2.51 seconds for the first shot, vs. 2.06 seconds from the strong-side IWB.  Again, this tracks pretty well with what other AIWB shooters have reported.

More after the break.

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