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 the 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 it 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 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 my botched stipple job.

UPDATE: While I think the rubber grip tape looked really good, I felt that it just wasn't aggressive enough for me after comparing it to my other stippled handguns, so I replaced it with the sandpaper version of the Springer Precision grip tape, and again used the larger P-09 version and trimmed it to my preference. The sandpaper grip tape is awesome for maintaining a firm grip on the gun (perfect for a competition gun), but it easily snags on clothing and prints badly when carrying concealed and is also uncomfortable against bare skin. I was actually willing to go back to the rubber grip tape due to this, but I ended up going with Talon Grips PRO grip tape material. Their PRO version is a compromise between rubber and sandpaper.  It is still made from rubber, but it has a more aggressive feel to it and it does not snag on clothing as badly as the sandpaper grip tape.  I purchased their 5"x7" DIY sheet material and custom cut it to a pattern that was more aesthetically pleasing than the trimmed pre-cut Springer Precision grip tape.  I'm very happy with the way it looks and feels now. The "salt and pepper" color mix of the PRO grip tape contrasts nicely with the Urban Grey polymer which makes it looks more Grey and less like FDE. 👍

UPDATE July 2022:
With gained experience from doing a LOT more stippling at RFV Tactical, I was able to save this frame by re-texturing it one more time! See the results here

Saturday, September 7, 2019

IDPA Action Pistol Match 09/07/2019

A decent performance from me at this IDPA action pistol match using my CZ P-07 Urban Gray with a Trijicon RMR (daily carry gun).  I didn't make any major mistakes, and I had a great time with a bunch of great people.  Came in 3rd place overall.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

USPSA Action Pistol Match 08/24/2019

We only had 5 people turn out for this USPSA action pistol match, but it was still a lot of fun as they were all excellent shooters (them... not so much me).  Looking back through the video footage, it's obvious that I could've gone a little faster, but my accuracy was on point and my game plan for each stage was solid.  I only had one make up shot on a paper target and I went 1-for-1 on every piece of steel in the entire match! I came in 3rd place overall and was within a fraction of a percent of 2nd place.

Monday, August 5, 2019

SCCA Autocross 08/03/2019

I haven't been to an autocross event since 2011. My local region has been running their summer events at night for a couple of years now, and I've been promising myself that I would give it a try IF I remembered when they were having an event AND I didn't have anything else going on.  I captured my fastest run on video, but it certainly wasn't as fast as I wanted it to be. 😜 I ended up in 13th place Overall out of 26 total, so... smack dab in the middle of the pack. (weak sauce)

I had fun at this event, but I was reminded that standing in a parking lot for almost 6 hours only to get a few minutes behind the wheel on the track is not the best bang for my buck when it comes to having fun.  I think I'll stick to action shooting sports and hopefully I will get back to motorcycle track days soon.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

USPSA Action Pistol Match 07/27/2019

Another great time at a local USPSA match shooting my optic-equipped CZ-USA Shadow 2.  I didn't really make any mistakes, but I certainly wasn't very fast. Came in 3rd place Overall.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Outlaw 3-Gun Match 07/21/2019

I was excited about this 3-Gun match because it was the first time performing quad-loads for my shotgun reloads.  I purchased some used quad-load shell holders and practiced every day for a week leading up to this match.  I got to perform a few quad-loads on one stage, but that was it.  The quad-loads weren't all that fast (for quad-loads), but it was a helluva lot faster than my previous method of loading a group of 3 one at a time.  I ended up in 3rd place overall at this match (only a fraction of a second between 2nd and 3rd place), but I made several mistakes that cost me a lot of time.  Definitely a learning experience.

Monday, July 8, 2019

IDPA Action Pistol Match 07/07/2019

I went back to using my optic equipped CZ P-09 with all my normal competition gear for this IDPA action pistol match.  I think I made a substantial mistake in 4 out of the 5 stages at this match, but despite all my mistakes I ended up in 2nd place Overall.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Outlaw 3-Gun Match 06/23/2019

Another mediocre performance from me at a local Outlaw 3-gun match.  I did go 2 for 2 on a 100 yard shot with a pistol on steel in the 3rd stage, but that was the only impressive thing about my performance. Lots of fun to go around though. 😀  I think I am going to give in and convert over and start practicing quad loading my shotgun.  That seems to be where a lot of my wasted time comes from (besides missing long range rifle targets).

Saturday, June 22, 2019

USPSA Action Pistol Match 06/22/2019

Great day at the range shooting a USPSA action pistol match with my CZ Shadow 2 with a Burris Fastfire 3 optic.  Other than a hit on a no-shoot target, I feel like I did okay.  Ended up in 3rd place overall.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

IDPA Action Pistol Match 06/19/2019

My Glock 43X is now MUCH easier to shoot with the Shield RMSc red dot sight installed. It is definitely not a "competition" gun, but my accuracy with it at this indoor IDPA match compared to the last match with only iron sights was vastly improved. I was only three points down for the entire match, but I had a procedural error that kept me out of the top 3 spots for the overall match results.  Apparently I can't count, and I did a slide-lock reload that turned out to not be at slide-lock. 😜

Sunday, June 2, 2019

IDPA Action Pistol Match 06/02/2019

I placed 2nd Overall at this IDPA action pistol match.  I was shooting my Gen4 Glock 19 with T-shirt concealment from an AIWB holster. I did okay other than dropping a mag out of the gun that I meant to catch for a tactical reload. #brainfart 😜


Saturday, May 25, 2019

USPSA Action Pistol Match 05/25/2019

I neglected to load up some competition ammo for my CZ Shadow 2 for this USPSA action pistol match, so I ended up just using my Gen1 CZ P-07 carry gun from concealment with factory ammo in the Open division. This definitely put me at a disadvantage for the match (placed 6th Overall), but I got the most "A" zone hits for the day.  As I get older, my vision is declining and my ability to move fast is also declining, but I like shooting at action pistol matches to stay proficient with a handgun.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

IDPA Action Pistol Match 05/08/2019

I ran my new Glock 43X at an indoor IDPA match recently. It was odd shooting a gun with only iron sights again.  I definitely prefer a red dot for accuracy, but this gun will get the job done for self defense.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

USPSA Action Pistol Match 04/28/2019

I had a several misses and several "no shoots" at this USPSA action pistol match. Not a great performance for me, but still ended up in 3rd place overall and I had a great time. It was awesome to shoot my CZ Shadow 2 in the Carry Optics division again! 

Monday, April 8, 2019

IDPA Action Pistol Match 04/07/2019

I finally got to shoot an outdoor IDPA action pistol match for 2019!  It's been a while and it was good to do some more outdoor action pistol. I was excited to run my previously problematic Gen1 CZ-USA P-07 project gun at this match because I finally got all of the bugs worked out of it, and I am happy to report that it ran flawlessly at this match.  Unfortunately, I had several user errors that put me in 5th place Overall for the day.  I had a couple of procedural errors, a miss (in the black on a hard-cover target), and I dropped a mag during a tactical reload while running to the next shooting position. Still a great day though. 😊

Friday, March 29, 2019

USPSA Action Pistol Match 03/28/2019

This was a quick 3-stage USPSA match that I attended after getting off work yesterday.  I was using my CZ Gen1 P-07 carry gun  from concealment with off the shelf ammo.  This gun has been plagued with trigger reset issues from the day I bought it (used), and the problem persisted at this match.  The trigger is very slow to reset (intermittently) which causes delayed follow-up shots as well as accuracy issues due to timing of the trigger pull. I've been polishing and tinkering with the internals to resolve the issue, but I  have still not figured out the problem. 😕

UPDATE: After spending several more hours troubleshooting the gun at home, I was finally able to replicate and determine the cause of the trigger reset issues. Apparently, the Gen1 frames were made from a slightly softer polymer than the Gen2 frames, and the strength of my grip flexes the frame just enough to bind up the trigger components causing a slow/sticky reset.  I ended up replacing all of the Gen1 trigger components (including the hammer and trigger itself) to brand new Gen2 components that I stoned and polished.  Replacing all the internal parts has completely eliminated the trigger reset issue and the double action trigger pull is now very smooth. My guess is that the newer parts have tolerances that work better together even when the frame flexes slightly when I grip the gun.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

USPSA Action Pistol Match 03/23/2019

Finally back to shooting something other than 3-Gun!!! 😜  I was shooting my CZ-USA Scorpion 9mm Carbine in the PCC division at this first USPSA match of 2019, because I haven't shot it in a LONG time and because I didn't have any competition ammo loaded up for my CZ Shadow 2 pistol.  Had a great time, but I wasn't as fast as I'd liked to be.  Oh well... it was a great day none the less! 😁

Monday, February 25, 2019

Outlaw 3-Gun Match 02/24/2019

There have still not been any local IDPA or USPSA matches since late last year, so here is yet another outlaw 3-Gun match.  I made a couple of mistakes at this match... I did not carry enough pistol ammo with me on the first stage (pistol-only stage) and ran out before being able to engage the last target and I did not take into account that my rifle would be hitting a little high at 125 yards with a 50/200 yard zero, so I wasted a lot of time going to war with two small round steel targets.  I still placed 3rd Overall, but it was definitely another learning experience of what NOT to do. 😜

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Nomad Defense Glock 19 - UPDATE

As much as I wanted to like the Nomad Defense Gen4 frame for this Glock 19 project, it was just too small for my big gorilla hands and was causing too many user induced malfunctions while shooting it at matches due to my support hand placement. So, I sold it and picked up a brand new Gen4 Glock frame and modified it with my personal preferences (finger groove removal, trigger guard undercut, stippling, and a modified beavertail backstrap). That modified beavertail backstrap is the key to a factory Glock 19 fitting my hands properly. Really happy with the way it turned out. After finishing up the gun, I was able to shoot another "zero points down" indoor IDPA match with it. 😀

Monday, January 21, 2019

Outlaw 3-Gun Match 01/20/2019

Unfortunately, I accidentally left my competition belt with my holster and mag pouches at home for this 3-Gun match, and ended up having to compete with my concealed carry holster and used my back pockets for all my extra magazines. My shotgun shell caddies were in my range bag, so I was able to use those.  The first stage definitely had us all breathing hard by the end as there was a bit of a hike while shooting at shotgun targets and finally making our way to the rifle at the top of a small plateau.  All the other stages weren't too bad, but not having all my stuff in the right spots on my belt definitely got me flustered during each stage.  I feel like every 3-Gun match I go to, I get just a tiny bit better at using the rifle and the shotgun.  Hopefully I will continue to improve.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Nomad Defense Glock 19 Handgun Build

Along with my recent CZ-USA P-07 build, I also built another custom Glock 19 handgun. This one utilizes the Gen4 MOS slide that I acquired, which I sent off to Maple Leaf Firearms to have front cocking serrations and a top window milled into it and refinished with black Nitride.  I really like the factory front serrations on my Gen4 G19 FS, so I think this slide looks great with these features.

I used the Nomad Defense Nomad 9 aftermarket Gen4 Glock 19 frame for this build, because I really liked all of the features and ergonomics that they put into it. I have to admit that when I first started handling the Nomad 9 frame, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. I really would've liked the grip texture to continue onto the front strap instead of having horizontal serrations, and the grip just felt a little too short in my big gorilla hands for some reason. So... like any other person that is not 100% satisfied with a product, I modified it! 😜 I stippled and blended the front strap with a similar texture to the factory texture, sacrificed the small backstrap to cut up and fuse together with the medium backstrap, re-located the hole for the retaining pin, and then re-stippled it to create a longer one-off custom backstrap that gives the grip a similar feel and look as the grip of my beloved CZ P-07s. I also purchased another Primary Machine compensator for this Glock 19 to match the comp I put on the Gen1 CZ P-07. 😁

I will be using this new Glock 19 and the Gen1 CZ P-07 for concealed carry and at shooting matches over the next couple of months to see how they perform. Both guns utilize the same holster that I made to index on the Streamlight TLR-1. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

CZ USA Gen1 P-07 Handgun Build

I recently built another CZ-USA P-07 handgun using an old used Gen1 DUTY frame that I picked up dirt cheap. I paired the frame with my optic-ready Gen1 slide with a Burris Fastfire3 optic. I also added a Primary Machine Stealth Comp to the gun to bring it to an extreme "tacti-cool" level. I spent quite a bit of time refining the Gen1 DUTY frame by rounding off all the sharp edges and doing a 360-degree stipple job on it since it doesn't have interchangeable backstraps. I tried out a new stippling technique that worked really well for me. It has a medium aggressive texture which is perfect for concealed carry, and I think it looks and feels good too. I liked the new stippling texture so much that I re-stippled my P-09 that I use for 3-Gun with the same technique.

One of the downsides to using a Gen1 DUTY frame is that the mags don't drop free when you press the mag release button (apparently its a European thing). I was able to get this frame to freely drop mags with a LOT of sanding and polishing inside the magwell. It was a lot of work, but well worth the effort as it was messing me up at shooting matches when the mags wouldn't drop out of the gun during slide-lock reloads.

I didn't want to use red Loctite on the barrel threads along with the supplied set screws to secure the compensator to the barrel per the instructions, as I didn't like the idea of not being able to easily remove the comp for cleaning or whatever.  So, I used an over-sized rubber o-ring (5/8" OD x 7/16" ID x 3/32") and shaved it down to a specific outside diameter to allow the comp to thread on to it's tightest point against the o-ring and be correctly lined up with the slide. I'm not able to get the comp as close to the slide as I would prefer with this method, but the comp has not moved at all while shooting and I can remove the comp as easily as a thread protector. The comp definitely helps reduce muzzle flip when shooting the gun, but there is no reduction of perceived recoil in the hand.  I still haven't decided if the added length is worth the effort/discomfort to carry it, but I love using the Streamlight TLR-1 HL light (800 lumens version), so the extra length of the comp is kind of a wash.

Despite the longer length of the gun with the comp and the TLR-1 light, I've been able to conceal carry this gun for 14 hours a day for the last couple of weeks using a custom kydex holster that I made that indexes on the light rather than the gun.  Yes, it's a little more uncomfortable compared to my other compact guns, but it's definitely doable.