Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Bul Armory SASII Tac Commander Handgun

After acquiring multiple compact 2011 handguns for my carry gun rotation, I decided that I needed a 2011 specifically for competition usage.  I picked up a Bul Armory SASII Tac Commander from GP Arms for this task, and immediately went crazy modifying the crap out of the gun.  I replaced all the controls with stainless steel parts from Fusion Firearms and all the ignition parts with components from EGW. I sent the slide to Primary Machine to have it milled for a Trijicon SRO using their proprietary RMR/SRO mounting plate that doesn't have an integrated rear sight, so the SRO is mounted farther back on the slide and doesn't hang over the ejection port.  I am not aware of any companies that offer aftermarket front sights specifically for the Bul Armory guns, so I ordered a fiber optic front sight for a Kimber 1911 from Dawson Precision hoping that it would fit, but I had to custom fit it to the dovetail in the slide, which was a pain in the ass! I made a custom rear "iron" sight using 1/8" black pinstripe tape that is applied to the front of the optic window which co-witnesses with the new 0.360" tall front sight. I also installed the grip module and tactical magwell that came off of my STI Tac-Lite 4.0 2011 that I stippled, which was surprisingly not that difficult to install. Since this is basically a Frankenstein build with a mix-match of modified parts, it took quite a bit of troubleshooting and tuning to get this gun to run reliably.  Every time I would fix an issue, a new problem would pop up like a never ending domino effect.  Very frustrating for sure, but I've finally got the gun running reliably for matches. 1911/2011 handguns are not legal in the Carry Optics division of USPSA, so I'm going to just run the gun in the Open division and have fun with it. I'll also be using it in the Open division of my local outlaw 3-Gun matches.


Unfortunately, changing to an STI grip module does not allow the gun to accept STI magazines as the metal frame of the gun also has to be permanently modified for that. Since extra factory Bul magazines were still unavailable when I purchased the gun, I'm using modified Remington 1911 R1 double stack magazines (same basic magazine tube as the Bul magazines) with Arredondo Plus-2 extended base pads for Para/Remington magazines (also modified to fit the STI grip module with a tactical magwell) for a 20-round capacity.  To get the magazines to work in the gun I had to increase the height of the magazine catch slot from 0.150" to 0.230" using a Dremel cut-off wheel and a small square file, and shave off just a small bit of material from the very top of the magazine to ensure that it doesn't drag on the underside of the slide. I also had to tune the feed lips of each magazine to get the gun to feed reliably, but this inadvertently resulted in the slide locking back with one round still in the magazine.  I tried trimming down the followers to resolve that issue, but I believe the enlarged mag catch slot introduced too much deviation to be 100% reliable, so I just modified the followers so that they don't lock the slide back at all.  Since the gun's intended usage is USPSA and 3-Gun where you rarely run the gun dry, I'd rather the magazine not lock the slide back when empty than have it lock back unexpectedly. If I absolutely need the slide to lock back on an empty magazine for a specific stage or scenario, then I'll just use the factory Bul magazines.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 09/12/2020

Not a great performance for me at this USPSA action pistol match in Lubbock, TX.  My first stage went horrible because I was trying to go too fast and I had two misses on a long distance head shot. I also had a no-shoot/miss on the classifier stage at the end of the match (again... trying to go too fast).  All of this put me at a 40-point deficit, which is impossible to place well with.  I ended up in 12th place overall out of 48 total.  From the video, it looks like I did pretty decent on stages 2, 3, and 4, and those all felt good, but the damage was already done on the first stage. 😞

Sunday, August 2, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 08/02/2020

This was an outlaw action pistol match (USPSA scoring on the paper targets) at a brand new local range built by a fellow local shooter.  There were a lot of small steel targets at this match, so it took a lot of precise aiming and disciplined trigger control. Most of the paper targets were at least 12 to 15 yards out, so there wasn't any "hosing" at this match. We even had some really awkward shots through various ports in a barricade on a few stages. I ran in the Open division so that I could use my new STI Tac-Lite 4.0 carry gun in my normal concealment setup.  The gun ran great, and the match was really fun.  I am looking forward to shooting more matches at this new range.  I ended up in 4th place Overall (11 total), and I was the only idiot at the match using a carry gun from concealment. 😜




Wednesday, July 8, 2020

STI Tactical Lite 4.0 2011 Handgun

Hey... remember when I was considering buying an STI Tac-Lite 4.0 with a compact VIP grip as a second 2011 carry gun, but ended up buying the Bul SAS2 Ultralight instead?  Well... I got tempted into buying a Tac-Lite after seeing it unsold on GunBroker week after week for what seemed like months.  It was apparently the LAST brand new Tac-Lite 4.0 in existence for sale.  I probably paid too much for it, but I'm so glad I bought it! 😎  I had to sell three competition guns that were no longer being used to help fund the purchase, but it was worth it. I really wanted to buy one of these guns about 5 years ago when they were still in production. I had planned on selling several guns to fund the purchase back then too, but I just couldn't stomach the price tag and gave up on the idea.  Now that I've already purchased a few other 2011s and have gotten over the "hump" of paying over $1500 for a handgun, I decided to buy this one and turn it into my "ultimate" carry gun.  By the way, I don't regret buying the Bul SAS2 UL at all. I actually like that gun so much that I've placed an order for two more Bul SAS2 handguns that I'll be using for concealed carry and for competition usage.

The first thing to do was to buy and install a shorter VIP grip since this would be a carry gun. I haven't seen the VIP grips readily available that weren't already stippled, but STI just happen to have a few brand new ones in stock on their website, so I ordered one the second I won the auction for the gun on GunBroker. After I installed the VIP grip, I was playing around with the tactical magwell that came on the full size grip and realized that it actually fit onto the VIP grip and was held firmly into place solely by the tension against the bottom of the mainspring housing. I really like the look of the tactical magwell on the VIP grip because it looks too "cut off short" without it. The gun prints a little bit more with the magwell installed, but it looks awesome and actually helps with reloading quickly. I also blended the inside of the mag opening in the grip to transition smoothly from the magwell as much as possible and I inserted a small piece of soft rubber hose into the magwell to fill the gap between the magwell and the bottom front lip of the VIP grip.

After putting a couple hundred rounds through the gun to make sure it functioned properly, I sent the slide off to Vulcan Machine Werks to be milled for a red dot sight and I also had them cut a window into the top of the slide to reduce the weight a little and increase the cool factor a little.  While the slide was away getting milled, I struggled with whether to stipple the grip or leave it with the classic checkering.  I ended up stippling the unused full size grip first to see how it would turn out, and that convinced me to go ahead and do the VIP grip.  I also used melted plastic from a sacrificial STI magazine base plate to fill in the faux screw holes at the bottom of the grip to give it a more custom look. I am extremely happy with how everything came together on this gun!

Is this gun the "best" carry gun that I own?    Probably not. 😐
Is it the most practical carry gun that I own?    No. 😕
Is it the most expensive carry gun that I own?    Yep. 😳
Is it the softest shooting carry gun that I own?    Yes it is! 😀
Is it the COOLEST carry gun that I own?    Absolutely YES! 😁


Tactical Magwell Update
I've been wanting to acquire and install the updated version of STI's tactical magwell, but unfortunately they have been discontinued and unavailable for a while. I ended up buying an airsoft replica version of that magwell, and it fit exactly like the STI magwell. I think it looks better, and there is less bulk at the bottom of the mainspring housing around the back of the grip, so it feels a lot better in my hand when gripping the gun and it also prints less when carrying it concealed.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

IDPA Action Pistol Match 07/05/2020

It's been September of last year since I shot an outdoor IDPA action pistol match, so it was really nice to get back to it.  This one went surprisingly well for me other than a few trigger reset issues with my CZ P-09 on the first two stages. I'm not sure what was going on there, but it never came back throughout the rest of the match. After reviewing the video, I honestly don't think I made any mistakes at this match, which is awesome for me as I usually have one or two brain farts at IDPA matches due to all their strict rules. Some of the rules in IDPA can be fairly annoying, but unlike USPSA the scoring puts more emphasis on accuracy rather than speed, so I typically do better at these matches. I had a great time and ended up in 2nd place overall (20 total) and had the least amount of points down at only 3 for the entire match. 👍

Saturday, June 27, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 06/27/2020

Another USPSA action pistol match in Clovis, NM.  Ended up in 6th place Overall (26 total) and had the most "A-zone" hits of the match... again.  This was a decent performance for my B-class skills... not pretty, not fast, but fairly accurate. 😜  Every time I try to push my overall speed, my accuracy goes to absolute shit, so I just stay focused on trying to be as accurate as I can while maintaining a decent pace. One thing I've noticed from watching some of my recent match videos is that I need to pick up the pace on targets that are 5 yards or closer, as my accuracy shouldn't suffer much at that distance.  I can tell in this video that I did indeed pick up the pace on shooting the closer targets, so I'm definitely making small improvements based on what I see in my videos, which is the whole reason why I record my matches. 😊



Saturday, June 13, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 06/13/2020

Another great post-COVID USPSA action pistol match in the books!  I decided to use my CZ P-09 with a Trijicon SRO that I normally use for IDPA at this match because I haven't had a chance to shoot it at a match since installing the SRO.  For a polymer gun with a trigger that is not as smooth as the Shadow 2, it worked really well for me!  I ended up in 6th place Overall (45 total), and had the most "A-zone" hits of the match.