Saturday, February 22, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 02/22/2020

I placed 6th Overall (28 total) and had the highest "A-zone" hits for this USPSA action pistol match in Clovis, TX.  What can I say that I haven't said over and over in the past... lots of fun. 😁

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Three New "Top Shelf" Carry Guns

These three new guns are what I carry most of the time now. I call them "Top Shelf" guns because I literally keep them on the top shelf of my safe for easy access. I believe these three are the best examples of each of the three different firing platforms (DA/SA, Striker, and SAO). After modifying and upgrading all of my other carry guns, I came to the conclusion that I really just wanted to have a set of guns that have a minimum amount of modifications so that their reliability is as high as it can possibly be, while being outfitted with high quality accessories to maximize their performance and functionality. All three of these new guns have Trijicon RM06 optics, tritium night sights with my DIY Hi-Viz front sight modification, and Olight PL-Pro weapon mounted lights. They all share the same custom kydex holster that I made that indexes on the light rather than the gun.

CZ-USA P-07
The CZ P-07 is my all-time favorite carry gun.  If I had to choose only one gun to do everything, the P-07 would be the gun I would pick.  Out of the box, the double action trigger pull is a little heavy, but that can be easily and inexpensively fixed by purchasing a self defense spring kit and a few other small items from Cajun Gun Works (around $35 total) to lighten the trigger pull and increase reliability.  There is not an optics ready verison of the P-07, so I sent the slide to JagerWerks to have it milled for an optic. The one thing that I don't like about the CZ P-07 is the lack of usable texture on the frame, so I textured the frame on this one myself to give it a better feel without being too aggressive for concealed carry.  In my opinion, the double action first trigger pull makes this the safest option for defensive use and concealed carry, especially when carried in the appendix position as I do every day of the week.

Glock 19 MOS Gen5
There is no denying the Glock 19's reliability track record and the availability for aftermarket parts to improve and customize the gun, but if you go too crazy with aftermarket parts then you reduce it's potential reliability.  The Gen 5 has a really good trigger out of the box, so the only thing I've done to it is install a 3.5# connector and a medium striker spring from Lone Wolf (around $15 total).  The factory texture on the Gen 4 and Gen 5 is more than adequate for a defensive gun, but I always re-contour the bottom of the trigger guard on all my Glocks to make it more comfortable on my knuckle, and I enlarge the interior of the trigger guard slightly for safer use with gloves.  I also modify the medium beavertail backstrap to give the gun a more natural point of aim along with the re-contoured trigger guard, so the grip angle feels similar to a CZ P-07 or a 1911/2011. I went with the MOS version for simplicity and used the CHPWS V3 mounting plate for the RMR.  The V3 plate allows the optic to sit slightly lower than the OEM MOS mounting plate, and it has much better thread engagement on the mounting screws, so that the optic is securely mounted. As with all of my Glock handguns, I've also installed a Striker Control Device from Tau Development Group as an added measure of safety when carrying and holstering the gun in the appendix position.

STI Staccato C2 2011
This gun is brand new for 2020. I've always loved 1911s, but I've never been comfortable carrying one for defensive purposes on a regular basis because of their low capacity.  I've looked at various high capacity compact 2011s in the past, but I was never completely happy with their aesthetics or lack of features, especially when paying more than $1500 for one.  When STI unofficially announced the new Staccato C2 in December 2019, I loved everything about it and sold all of my compact 1911s to fund the purchase.  The Staccato C2 is offered in a standard version for $2000 and an optics ready version ("DUO") for $2500. I was originally going to buy the DUO version and just mount an RMR on it and be done, but I ended up getting the standard version and sent the slide off to Vulcan Machine Werks to have it milled for an RMR using the Trijicon 1911/2011 mounting plate that Vulcan includes with their milling package for $400. After doing a little research, I realized that the Trijicon mounting plate allows the RMR to sit lower on the slide than the DUO mounting plate, and the Trijicon plate also comes with co-witnessing front and rear tritium sights (I prefer tritium sights on all my carry guns).  With the DUO version of the C2, you have to purchase the RMR specific mounting plate separately (an extra $140), and it only comes with a black rear sight and a fiber optic front sight, so I would've had to special order tritium night sights (an extra $110). Having the standard version slide milled for the Trijicon plate made more sense to me and it ended up saving me over $300 vs buying the DUO version and having to buy the extra parts.

For more photos and specs on all of my guns, visit my website here:
http://www.brazeauracing.com/firearms/index.html

Saturday, February 8, 2020

USPSA Action Pistol Match 02/08/2020

I had a great time at this USPSA action pistol match in Lubbock, TX today.  I've been shooting my concealed carry guns a lot lately, so I decided to use my CZ P-07 at this match in the Open division so that I could carry it concealed and in the appendix position like I do every day of the week.  I really wasn't concerned with how I would place (13th overall out of 59 total).  I just wanted to have fun and shoot as accurately as I could.  I ended up shooting the most "A-zone" hits out of everyone at the match and I definitely had fun, so I accomplished my goals. 😀





Sunday, January 26, 2020

Outlaw 3-Gun Match 01/26/2020

As you can see from my previous post, it's been October of 2019 since my last 3-Gun match. It was good to finally shoot at an outdoor match again.  My long range rifle skills still need to be improved, and my one and only shotgun quad-load reload went horrible because one of the shells was missing from my shell caddy when I went to grab the cluster of shells, which threw off the whole technique.  Despite the issues I had, I still managed to come in 2nd place Overall (out of 12 total). I was also using a new universal compensator on the CZ P-09 from Volker Precision, that looks more like an oversized thread protector rather than a square box on the end of the gun.  It works really well even with 115gr ball ammo, and there is no need for set screws or thread locker to keep it in place.



Sunday, October 13, 2019

Outlaw 3-Gun Match 10/13/2019

There were only 4 of us that showed up for this outlaw 3-Gun match, but we still had a great time!  Each stage offered the option to use a pistol instead of a shotgun, but I chose to go with the shotgun at every chance so that I could get more practice on my quad-load reloads.  My quad-loads are definitely improving, but I still can't do them very well while quickly moving to the next shooting position.  We also had a "shoot-off" style stage for the last stage, but I neglected to get my left-side run on video.  My right-side run looked very slow compared to the other guy, but he ALWAYS wins these local matches by a mile. 😋

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Red Dot Sights on Carry Guns

I recently added red dot sights to a couple more of my carry guns.  I am now up to 8 carry guns and 2 competition guns with red dot sights (all with 3-4 MOA sized dots). This time I went with the Shield Sights RMSc optic as it's smaller footprint was perfect for the narrower slides of my CZ P-01 and my Glock 43X. Now that I have first hand experience with three different brands of red dot sights on carry guns, I thought I would give my thoughts on each of them.



Burris Fastfire III
I started out with the Burris FF3 on a CZ P-07 because it was relatively inexpensive, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money to try it out. I even purchased an older Gen1 slide that was pre-milled by CZ Custom to accept multiple red dot sights so that I could switch to a different optic if I wanted to. The FF3 worked fine for me, but the battery life is only a couple of months if you carry it every day. This isn't too big of a deal because you can easily replace the battery without having to remove the optic from the gun. I ended up moving the FF3 to a competition gun (CZ P-09) and have since acquired 3 more of them. 1 for another competition gun (CZ Shadow 2) and 2 more for some carry gun projects (a Gen1 P-07 and a Gen4 Glock 19 MOS). I don't carry either of those two guns every single day, so the battery life and durability of the FF3 isn't a big deal to me. I believe the FF3 is an excellent optic in it's price point (around $200), and the warranty and customer service from Burris is outstanding.  I have had to send in 3 of my optics to them for various reasons (yes, I've had some failures), and every time I send one in, they send me a brand new replacement within a week! 😲



Trijicon RMR
I have 4 Trijicon RMRs on guns that I carry more frequently (two CZ P-07s and two Glock 19s). In my opinion, the RMR is the best red dot sight for daily concealed carry because it can easily withstand the abuse of accidental knocks against various things like doorknobs, chairs, desks, etc. The RMR's window is relatively small, but it looks even smaller due to the thicker frame around the window. Some people find the thicker frame more difficult to use, but if you are training with an RDS properly, the thicker frame is really not an issue. All of my RMRs are the auto-adjusting versions that are always on, as I didn't want to mess with any buttons on a carry gun.  Two of them are the older Type 1 version (installed on both of the Glocks) and the other two are the newer Type 2 version (installed on both of the CZs). The auto-adjusting brightness isn't that great in low light conditions, especially with the use of a bright weapon mounted light as the dot gets washed out by the light, but the Type 2 auto-adjust works significantly better than the Type 1 in that scenario.  I recommend having usable backup iron sights installed on the gun for those types of situations. The RMR battery life is really good.  They are supposed to go 2 or more years on a battery, depending on usage, but I just change the battery and re-zero once a year (you have to remove the optic from the gun to change the battery).
 


Shield RMSc
I recently chose the Shield RMSc for my P-01 and my Glock 43X simply because of its smaller footprint for those two narrower slides. I have not had any issues with either of them so far, and I have been very impressed with them. They have the clearest window (no color tint) and the best auto-adjusting brightness feature.  The optic window is made of clear polycarbonate with a scratch resistant glass coating.  The polycarbonate window on the original RMS was easily scratched (no glass coating), but I haven't had any issues with the new upgraded lens.  The RMS/RMSc is so small and low that you can typically co-witness the optic with standard height iron sights. I chose to completely eliminate the rear sight dovetail on my CZ P-01 when having it milled for the optic and utilize the built-in notch on the rear of the optic body as my backup rear iron sight. I've only had these two RMSc installed for a few months, so I'm not sure how the battery life is going to be, but I really like this optic. I may even install one on a compact 1911 handgun in the future. The original RMS battery can be changed without removing the optic from the gun, but the smaller RMSc and the new RMSw have to be removed from the gun and then re-zeroed after installation just like the Trijicon RMR. The new RMSw is the same size as the original RMS, but has a more robust hood over the window, has the upgraded scratch resistant lens, and is also water resistant, so it may be the best of all of them.  Update for 2020... all versions of the Shield RMS sights can now be custom ordered directly from Shield Sights with a glass lens.
 


Final Thoughts
The RMSc and the FF3 are certainly not the most durable red dot sights by the nature of their construction when compared to the RMR, but I don't carry the guns that I have those optics mounted on every day. If you are looking to install an RDS on only one gun, and you carry that gun 365 days a year, then I would highly recommend the Trijicon RMR simply for its durability. If you have several guns that you rotate through, then the durability of the RMR may not be as important to you, and you could consider some of the other popular options like the Burris FF3, Vortex Venom, Shield RMSw or even one of the Holosun optics that have the same mounting footprint as the Trijicon RMR. Although I do not have any personal experience with the Holosun optics, they are quickly proving to be just as durable as the Trijicon RMR and have more advanced features such as built-in multiple reticles to choose from and backup solar power.


UPDATE: February 2020
I have recently purchased three new Trijicon RM06 optics for three new carry guns that I've put together... another CZ P-07, a Gen5 Glock 19 MOS, and an STI Staccato C2 2011 which is brand new for 2020.  I decided to try out the RM06 for these three new guns and I am absolutely happy with my decision!  The adjustable LED allows me to set the brightness to a specific level for nighttime use so that the dot doesn't get washed out by a bright weapon mounted light, and I can set it to auto-adjust mode during the day to conserve battery life when the need for a weapon mounted light is greatly reduced. I can also turn the RMR completely off when the gun is not in use, or if I want to practice shooting with only the use of iron sights.


Monday, September 30, 2019

CZ-USA CZ P-07 Urban Grey Update

I have always stippled my polymer framed handguns myself. I have been improving my technique over time and the look of my work has gotten much better from when I first started.  However, I must've re-stippled this CZ P-07 Urban Gray frame 5 or 6 times trying to remove a discoloration spot on the right side of the grip (because my OCD wouldn't let it go). On the 3rd or 4th attempt I ended up going so deep that I had to do a repair job on it using melted plastic from one of the unused backstraps, which made the discoloration spot even worse. So, I admitted defeat and just sanded it smooth in preparation for grip tape. I normally do not like grip tape because it usually moves around on the gun and the rubber version just feels too squishy for my preference, but having this smooth prepped surface on the frame has allowed this application of grip tape to feel solid and has not moved around at all since it was installed. I used the Springer Precision rubber grip tape because they are the only company that I know of that makes pre-cut grip tape (both rubber and sandpaper versions) for the CZ P-07/P-09 that doesn't have the small circle cutout for the CZ logo on the sides of the grip. I wasn't 100% satisfied with the shape of their pre-cut grip tape, so I ordered the larger P-09 version and carefully trimmed them in specific areas to my liking.  I also had to make my own backstrap grip tape from an extra pre-cut P-09 sheet. To be honest... I really love the way it looks and feels now! 😁 If I had to do it all over again, I don't know that I would go through the effort to grind off the factory texture and sand smooth another P-09/P-07 frame specifically to apply grip tape, but it certainly made a huge difference on this frame that was almost ruined by a botched stipple job.