I recently changed my daily carry gun. No, not because it’s winter, and it is the season for bigger guns. I changed based on an experiment I did at the range a few weeks ago. I took a handful of guns with me that needed to be checked for various reasons – new mags for some, sight upgrade for another, and a caliber conversion in the last (for a friend).
I ran some rounds through my G19 to test the new Trijicon HD’s I installed, then I tested the new mags I picked up for my Sig P238, M&P Shield and M&P Compact. Lastly I tested a .40 cal to 9mm conversion I did for a friend on their Glock G22.
After all the function tests were successful, I decided to shoot the guns at 7, 15, and 50 yards at a ¼ scale steel silhouette target. I decided to use a timer for a par time, but mostly I was listening for hits within the par time. I varied the times from 3 seconds to 9 seconds depending on the distance for each 5 to 10 shot string. I was drawing from appendix position with each pistol since that is how I have been carrying lately.
The results were interesting, and maybe I will post them in another entry, but I realized that hitting a ¼ scale target at 50 yards with a pocket size .380 is a challenge. I could do it, but not fast enough for my liking. The Shield made it a little easier, but I still wasn’t completely satisfied with the results. The M&P compact, my G19, and the converted G22 produced much better results for me. I could regularly hit 9 of 10 shots on the steel at 50 yards with those guns. The shorter distances were not a problem with these guns either…or the Shield for that matter.
What does all this mean? Well, for starters I need more practice with my P238 – at all distances. Those small guns are easy to carry, but they can be more difficult to shoot quickly and accurately. I don’t mean quickly or accurately, I mean shooting fast and getting good, solid hits. I would encourage everyone who routinely carries a smaller, pocket sized pistol as an EDC to really test themselves and see how they do. For instance, from 7 yards, can you draw your gun from where you normally carry it, and hit a paper plate six times in 3 seconds or less? Can you make a 25 yard head shot with it?
I learned I can, sometimes, but not consistently. I can do it consistently with the larger guns. Obviously, this makes sense, since the larger guns are easier to shoot. Because I carry a gun as a lifesaving tool in case of a worst case scenario, my ability to make hits needs to be automatic.
I had a discussion with someone the other day on this topic. They thought 25 and 50 yard hits were unreasonable. They cited the “3 shots, 3 yards, 3 seconds” statistic, and that in all likelihood a civilian encounter that required the use of a firearm would be at closer distances. Maybe. Maybe not. Who can know for sure anymore? I decided I’d rather be able to make hits at longer ranges, and have more shots with which to do it. So, I will continue to practice with the P238 for those times when that size pistol is all I can conceal because of the circumstances. However, my everyday gun now alternates between my M&P compact and my G19. I am not trying to tell you this is the answer for you…just sharing the results from my reality check.