Monday, July 5, 2010

It is nice to have tools.....

....and I dont mean woodworking tools.

My Freud router decide to do something decidedly nasty today and even my good friend Murphy could never have thought up something so despicable.

The screw that holds in the plunger that locks the shaft to facilitate bit changes came out. I noticed it as I was fumbling the router out of the table as the plunger decided to launch into my safety glass covered eye.

Never the one to panic, I looked down at the pieces and determined them all to be there. But what had caused it? I saw the problem on the collar the plunger is mounted to. A screw was balancing there between the collar and the shaft. Since I had the router completely out of the fixed base which stays attached to the table I manipulated it so I could grab it. The thing was small and my ever to agile and rock solid fingers buggered up the whole operation so it went down into the cooling vents of the router motor.



I tipped the router over to try and free the screw the same way it went in but I could hear nothing and saw nothing come out. I figured it had gotten hung up on one of the magnets in the motor. ( I did not even know if this was possible at the time)

So into the house I go. I lay down a white sheet so as not to lose anymore parts of this router. I dont know if it is just Freud routers or what but they use the most obscure sizes and types of fasteners. Mericifully I had all the right tools.

Jewellers screwdrivers.

Torx screwdrivers

Hex wrenches


Combination wrenches

The only thing I did not need was a big hammer but believe me I wanted one bad.....

Took the whole contraption apart with only an exploded diagram to reference. Stator, coils, brushes, switch, etc. and there was no screw in there to be seen.

Mystified and scared out of my wits to even try such a thing, I carefully ventured out to my shed to search the floor (which by some twist of fate I had actually cleaned thoroughly before starting this morning) and found the missing screw.

Thank God for tools because if I did not have them I never could have gotten that router back together or more importantly took it apart to begin with. It took the smallest flat blade screwdriver I had (and I would guess they dont make them much smaller than this) to put that screw back in.

I still dont know if it is possible for a screw to fall down the cooling vents of a router and stick to a magnet in the motor.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why I like the PS90 for HD

I am in the minority here but it is my opinion that the FN PS90 is the best HD rifle. It is short and fires what some would consider a pistol round. I call it an intermediate intermediate round since it resembles a smaller 5.56. You are not going to have over penetration since it the only ammo civilians can get are the plastic tipped ones. The bullet is pretty light as well so it will lose speed fast through walls or flesh.50 round capacity is pretty good too.

The PS90 has nearly every advantage General Geoff pointed out about the AR. Of those he pointed out here are the ones the PS90 also possesses.

very accurate
very reliable30-rd standard capacity
very light recoil
reduced overpenetration concerns
fairly short and maneuverable package (with shorter barrel lengths)

As you can see it retains all of the ARs best advantages and even has some better advantages such as shorter length and higher capacity.Now the AR is a good all around platform and HD is definitely one of its fortes. I think the PS90 is better in a pure HD role and the AR is the much more versatile option.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Heel Magazine Releases compared to the Button

It all comes down to getting used to it.

The majority of pistols today have the side release button so that is predominantly what American are used to. Id does not take long to get used to a bottom mag release but it is undoubtedly slower. The HK P7 style is nice because you actually make a motion of pushing into the grip with your thumb as your curled index finger is pulling down in the (extended and serrated) mag floorplate. This is faster than the heel release of say a Ruger MKII or Walther P38 where you have to actuate a lever on the bottom of the magazine itself and push it away from the grip of the gun to the rear and then try and pull out the magazine.The P7 release is more ergonomic and faster and is really in a league of its own in the world of the European heel mag releases.

The two pistols I commonly use are the P7 and Browning Hi Power. If you have experience with the Hi Power and the dreaded magazine safety then you know that the mag safety rides along the magazine as it is in the mag well and hinders it from dropping free when it is empty. Since I used the P7 first and grew accostomed to using both hands to release the magazine I quickly warmed right up to the Hi Power and its inability to drop its magazine in the fashionable way. ( I have my magazine interlock in place on my Hi Power). This is just an example of being able to readily transfer from one pistol to another with different magazine detachment methods. Given your choice of pistols.

If you find yourself accustomed to the heel release and try to transition to the button release, I think you will find yourself ejecting the magazine with both hands even if it is not necessary. I dont see this as a bad thing as a second lost to ensure a proper magazine change is, I believe, a fair trade-off.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Reaction to a Recent Tragedy

This incident:

"A man who police said tried to stop a beer run at a Circle K in west Phoenix was shot and killed Friday night.
Lance Taylor, 23, was with his wife and mother in front of the convenience store near 43rd Avenue and McDowell Road about 9 p.m. when a man in his late teens or early 20s entered the store acting suspicious, said Trent Crump, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department.

The man, police said, went to a cooler and took two 30 packs of beer and walked toward the exit when Taylor blocked his path and told him to return the beer. Taylor confronted the man because he knew the employees there and wanted to help, Crump said.
The man did what he was told and as he was leaving he took a handgun from his waistband and started waving it and yelling at store employees and Taylor. Taylor backed away from the man and as the man left the store gun in hand, he met with Taylor's wife who was opening the door, Crump said. The man said something to the woman then hit her in the head with his pistol, police said.
After seeing his wife struck, Taylor came up behind the man outside of the store and was shot in front of his wife and mother.
The Phoenix Fire Department treated his wound and took him to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center but he died of his injuries. Taylor's wife suffered a minor head injury.
Crump said the assailant either fled east on McDowell Road or got into a brown-colored two-door Chevrolet Malibu.
Crump said he is asking anyone with information to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS and for Spanish at 480-TESTIGO.
"The arrogance that this suspect showed in this is chilling, and we're asking for the public's help in locating this individual," Crump said.
The man is considered armed and dangerous.
"We need to get this person off the street he shot and killed this good samaritan who was trying to help last night in cold blood," Crump said."


I understand we live in a world where the only people in our society who have the legal right to prevent and act upon the evil in the world are those who are sworn peace officers. Often times these men and women have seen and experienced the things that all of us huddled safely behind our locked doors could only dream about in nightmares.

I understand that for most of us to sleep soundly at night is the idea there are armed individuals paid pathetically little to make snap decisions and judgements on a daily basis and the one time they make the wrong decision all of us who are huddled safely behind our locked doors will judge them as the evil they are trying to prevent.

I understand that there are judges and lawyers who work very hard every day to thwart justice as well as invoke it. These individuals are the deliverers of only a form of law and justice that has been put in place through the political transgressions of the lawmakers that know little of the law and even less of justice but vie for the power of the position and prestige it brings to only try to further their own agenda and win the popularity contest of politics.

I understand that because of all these laws and all the politicking which brings about the norms of our society that eventually the pole shifts and the way of thinking of the lawmakers, the judges, and the lawyers redirects itself onto the greater society and brings about the shift of a society no longer operating on the social contract of the past but the new social contract of flying below the radar, comlying to the demands of evil, afraid of the consequences of doing what it right, and encouraging others to do the same.

I understand I am in the minority and I understand there is no black and white. I regretfully understand the law and the consequences that come with a democracy that is free to evolve as it sees fit as opposed to evolving naturally.

We do have a responsibility to our family and keeping ourselves alive should be paramount in that respect. Are we living selfishly for ourselves or are we all hiding behind all too convenient excuses that follow self preservation around. There will be a time when self preservation will land you in prison as well as preserving the lives of others will. Where do you draw the line when to act and when to run and when to comply?

Mr Taylor's death is unfortunate but maybe this is how he would have ended up anyway in a few months time in a similar instance because of being fed up with the world he lives in.

Just remember this seemingly unrelated bit (I will try to make it as unreligious as possible and unpolitical to keep within the rules):

As it is not our right to determine who lives or dies as it pertains to issues such as abortion and capital punishment maybe so it should also not be our right to determine who lives or dies as it pertains to saving lives.

What I mean is, there are two ways of looking at everything. In the case of the OP the conventional wisdom is to look at it as being irresponsible to try and intervene over a few cases of beer when you have a family to think about. He obviously knew the man had a gun but acted anyway. Still actions like this could land you in prison or in a legal battle. This is the modern way of thinking as our society has become annoyingly litigious. The other way of looking at is that Mr Taylor was standing up against evil and we could praise him for his actions and still ourn his death.

What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.

I embrace criticism on this and many of you are going to think it does not make sense.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Milt Sparks Versa Max II for my Hi Power

The Milt Sparks Versa Max II

Though I have only owned this holster a mere 4 days I feel I am up to the task of giving a full on review for all that have to know why this gets the Academy Award. So here is a quick impromtu review.

The holster out of the box was brand new. It was an eBay purchase and I paid what I would have paid Mr. Milt himself. It appeared exactly as I thought it would in my mind's eye. The Finish on the leather is extremely nice and boning done to the contour of the firearm is very nice as well. There is no obvious double stitching anywhere on the holster but the stitching present is done with good thick waxed white nylon thread.

Upon examining it further it appeared the snap belt loops would be too small for my 1 1/2" Belt Man. It is a very tight fit and this is something I have read about before. Milt Sparks holsters have belt loops and slots that are fitted to the company's own belts. Other manufacturers will have slight size differences so my experience cannot be unique. As it is I cannot put the holster on with my belt already done up. I have to thread my belt through it as I would a normal belt holster or a holster without the snap loops. The one way snaps are tough and this is to my liking. I dont generally do things the easy way as can be seen by my choice of carry weapons, the BHP.
Most would consider the loop situation unacceptable I dont really though. First I think the loops with stretch and break in over time as I wear it more. Second I think it gives the hoster a more secure feeling on my belt and in my waistband. Third, I am used to OWB belt holsters and there is not quick on or off without taking your belt off too. I dont think this is really any slower than unsnapping some straps and finnagling the thing out of there.

The reinforced mouth seems to be a big deal among those here. I dont really see it as an advantage or a disadvantage. I like my holster mouth to stay open be it by spring steel, kydex, or layers of leather.

Upon trying it on I was astounded at the comfort and the concealability under a medium weight T shirt. The holster pulls the grip of the pistol back to better conform and rest into my love handle. The muzzle rests lightly in the fleshiest part of my gluteus. Upon sitting the muzzle shifts to the lower point of my pelvis, which on me is still quite fleshy and the muzzle only exerts light pressure. I found this to be more comfortable in the sitting position than my OWB PWL holster for my P7 is in the standing OR sitting postion.

Another gripe about it is that there is a sight channel formed in this holster to accomidate the totally obnoxious adjustable sights that are found on Hi Powers. It is unfortunate this feature is on this holster but it does not jeopardize the integrity of the holster in any way. It is just a little groove formed in it and still supports the entire gun regardless.

The back of the holster is waxed as well which could make some think it will slide around and they are half right. It does not slide around but rather allows your leg and hips to slide around IT. This makes walking and sitting much more comfortable.

There is boned in impression on the back side that allows for the protrusion of the slide stop lever as there is another on the other side of the holster for the end of the pin of the slide stop lever. Attention to little details like this set this holster and it maker apart from the rest. It does not however have a boned in area to accomidate the extended MKII and MKIII style safties found on Hi Powers such as holsters by Tucker Gunleather. Though that feature is nice and it shows attention to detail by skilled craftsmen, I find it to be unnecessary since the safety has not bumped off at any time since I have been carrying it. I tend to think the safety will wear itself a little area where it nestles.

One more gripe. The forward belt loop is attached to a double thickness penninsula of leather. This is to accomidate the reinforcing band. That piece of leather likes to flap in the breeze so to speak. However, this only bothers me when the holster is off. As of yet I see no disadvantage to this it just bugs me psychologically. If there were some reinforcing material added between the layers there it may help but it also may just be a solution to a problem that does not exist as Milt has been making holsters for years and this is a highly regarded one at that.

Overall this holster does one heck of a job supporting the 2+ pounds of wieght a fully stoked Browning Hi Power brings with it. The belt loops do a fantastic job of spreading the weight. Add that to the fact that I am wearing a reinforced double thickness bullhide belt offered by Belt Man and it makes a fine carry package indeed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Exceptions in an Exceptional Pistol: The HK P7

Not long ago I acquired a Heckler and Koch P7 PSP pistol. This pistol has intrigued me since I first read about them in the early nineties. I of course was drawn to its unique design and what I though was the most superior way to carry a chambered round.

What caught my attention most however was that a few police agencies in the United States adopted this pistol during a time of the high capacity 9mm. The P7 pistol holds only eight rounds in its magazine. The common 9mm semi automatics of the day held between 13 and 17. At the time I was somewhat young and more foolish and I thought that capacity trumped most anything else in a pistol. This made me think that the P7 must be an exceptional pistol to have such a diminutive capacity yet still be adopted by police agencies.

During the time of transition in law enforcement from revolvers to the semi automatic pistol in the eighties, it became apparent that even design changes in the traditional for the time semi automatics was in order for them to be better suited to police work. Police department training procedures and politics dictated that the pistol must have a simple manual of arms and be safe to carry with a round in the chamber. Nationwide police agencies generally adopted double action pistols. For the most part these double action pistols were DA/SA such as the Smith and Wesson 59 series.

During this time the Glock pistol made its emergence into the American market. Basically the Glock is a double action only pistol. It is safe and nearly indestructible. The one drawback to it is there is no manual safety so if the trigger is pulled and there is a round in the chamber the pistol will fire. Same thing goes in the hypothetical situation of something getting into the trigger guard and pressure is put on it then the gun can fire as well. This is not a serious drawback but the user has to exercise some caution when holstering and unholstering the weapon.

Single action pistols have been neglected by the various law enforcement agencies for reasons that have never really been fully explained to me. The manual of arms of such weapons does make them slightly more complicated to learn on. Also the visually cocked hammer on a pistol that has a round chambered is said to make some uncomfortable whether they are the ones carrying the weapon or not. I do know there are still plenty of agencies out there fielding a 1911 type pistol and in Ed Lovette’s book The Snubby Revolver he states that CIA operatives were trained on the Browning Hi Power while he was a training officer with the agency.

Enter the HK P7. This pistol really is in a different league among nearly all pistols of yesterday and today. This does not in any way make it better than any other pistol but it has some characteristics, for better or worse, that many other pistols do not share.

There are many characteristics of this pistol that have to be listed first and then elaborated upon. These are: grip angle, bore axis, rifling, fluted chamber, gas system, accuracy, trigger pull, sights, magazines, magazine angle, feed from magazine to chamber, squeeze cocker, take down, and the different P7 variants.

One of the reasons people seem to like the P7 so much is the grip angle. This is not as big of a thing as all the P7 fans would like you to believe. The P7 shares a grip angle with many other pistols. The 110 degree angle of the grip has been used by many pistol makers in the past and continues to do so until this day. This is not to say the pistol does not have a good grip angle it is just that it is not such a big deal when put into this perspective. HK advertisements in the past said the gun pointed as naturally in your hand as it is natural to point your finger. This is probably an overstatement but I believe the theory behind it to be spot on. Of course the theory is also spot on with the other pistols as well. Nonetheless, of all the pistols I have shot this one seems to point the easiest. This could be more a function of how the gun balances which we will get into later.

The bore axis of this pistol is one of the lowest of any gun past or present. With a high grip on the gun you can put your palm swell nearly in line with the bottom of the bore of the barrel. This is a great aid in recoil control and follow up shots. The venerable double tap comes faster than ever with this gun. Added to the fact that the gun is chambered in a very controllable caliber which will be talked about later.

Like most HK pistols this one also sports polygonal rifling. This alone does not make the pistol any better than any other polygonal rifled pistol such as the other HKs, Glocks, and Kahrs, as well as some others. The polygonal rifling does increase velocity by better sealing the gases from the burning powder behind the bullet. This increase in velocity may be as high as 100 feet per second.

The P7 pistol has a unique feature I have not heard about in other pistols. This feature is the small flutes that run through the chamber. These flutes are a design feature that aid in the ejection of the spent casing upon firing. The gases in the barrel leak back and go down into the flutes that are stationed all the way around the chamber walls and work to “float” the casing out of the chamber. There are videos that show a P7 without its extractor firing one shot after another. Indeed the extractor is only included on this pistol so you can remove a cartridge from the chamber without having to fire it. This feature does leave soot marks on the outside of your spent brass which has no effect on the ability to reload them.

The magazines for the P7 are very high quality. They have a superior follower design that will not bind if uneven pressure is put on it. This is similar to other HK factory magazines I have seen for some of their other weapons including rifles. I once had a batch of HK magazines for AR type weapons and they exhibited similar exterior robustness as well as the superior follower. The P7 magazines are not just run of the mill stamped steel. These magazines have proven extremely expensive to buy spares of but all scarcity aside you get what you pay for.

On the topic of the magazines it should be noted that the P7 uses the most untraditional method using a different angle of insertion for the magazine into the magazine well than the grip angle. The magazine is inserted more perpendicular to the bore than the grip sits. This can be cumbersome at first for the first time P7 shooter when inserting magazines. I found myself adapting to it quite rapidly though and no longer have any problems. The reason behind this is to make feeding to the cartridges from the magazine to the chamber more reliable. This allows the cartridges to not sit laterally staggered inside the magazine and then be fed into the chamber. As well the magazine sits quite high in relation to the chamber so the cartridge does not have to make as abrupt of changes in angle during the feeding process. This is where different types of hollow points can get caught up on the inner workings of the feed ramp or the chamber throat. This can be avoided somewhat if a round is fed with more straight of an angle into the chamber. Add that to the fact that this gun is also of the fixed barrel design and that makes the feed ramp transition to the barrel and chamber much more smooth and consistent than on the traditional unlocking barrel designs.

Easily the most distinctive feature of the P7 is the cocking lever. It does give the gun the look of having a very awkward grip. This is not the case however when using the pistol correctly. As has been outlined earlier the pistol has a good grip and grip angle. The cocking lever is the device that must be pressed to deploy the pistol. It is what cocks the striker and decocks the striker upon release. It allows the slide to be cycled manually to chamber a round but not have to decock anything afterwards. When a magazine is fired dry the slide will lock open and upon inserting a fully loaded magazine all that needs to be done is to press down the cocking lever to release the slide and chamber a fresh round and commence firing. It can instantly upon pressing take the gun from a safe condition to a ready condition quickly and without undo manipulation of levers and just as quickly you can release the lever and make the pistol perfectly safe for reholstering. It is also the part that needs to be manipulated in the very unlikely event of a primer not igniting on a round. You would have to let off on the lever and then immediately squeeze it again and press the trigger to try and get that primer to ignite. Odds are it still is not going to fire anyway and a more standard malfunction drill will have to be employed.

The cocking lever is the one piece of the P7 pistol that garners the most scorn. It is the primary cause of all the differences between itself and all other pistols. I find it quite nice and easy to manipulate as you are supposed to be squeezing the grip of the pistol when firing it anyway. I suppose letting off on it before reholstering could take some practice and when inserting a full magazine. Cases of police officers being disarmed of their P7 have been reported. In some cases the assailant could not manipulate the weapon properly to fire it as intended. No doubt they did not press the lever down to fire.

The take down of the pistol is exceptionally easy for me. I have heard reports of others having problems and still others reporting it takes getting used to but other than that it is fine. I think it is one of the easiest designed including Glocks and Sig Sauers as well. Still there are always differing experiences. It is a fixed barrel and therefore there is one less component part. The gas piston is attached to the slide and the gas cylinder is a permanent part of the pistol frame so they are not separate parts. All told including the magazine there are a total of 4 component parts. They are the slide assembly, recoil spring, frame assembly, and magazine. Detail stripping is out of the question for me as I have heard they are quite complicated underneath and I am not going to try on that front. To take down you simply pull back on the slide about an inch while pressing the takedown button located on the left side of the frame just above the valley of the grip and then lift upwards on the slide and it will come off from the front of the frame as is typical with many blowback designs.

The HK P7 has a gas system that works to delay the rearward slide movement during the firing cycle. This is one of the most well known features of the pistol even by people that are otherwise quite ignorant about them. This gas system works by a cylinder that is fixed to the frame of the pistol and piston that is fixed by a pin to the front of the slide that upon the firing of the cartridge fills the cylinder with gases and works upon the piston to force the slide forward for a split second. The pressure on the piston is relieved once the projectile has left the barrel and the gases can bleed off and the normal cycling process can commence. The reason this system is needed in this gun is because it is a fixed barrel blowback system. Blow back systems really can only be used on lower power cartridges of which the 380 or 9mm Makarov may be the practical upper limit before the slide weight has to be increased proportionally to the cartridge which can make handguns get really heavy really fast such as the Hi Point line of pistols. Since the P7 is a 9mm and the limit of the blowback design is pushed, the gas system must be employed to delay and slow down the slide movement thus making the pistol light for a blowback design. If you were to get technical (and you bet HK does) this is considered a delayed blowback system.

The fixed barrel designs have always been what most would consider to be more accurate than the Browning designed system of recoil and locking and unlocking barrels such as is seen in the 1911, Glock, many Sig Sauers and many others. Indeed the P7 is a very accurate pistol inherently and practically. The P7 can shoot excellent groups at 25 yds from a rest making it one of the most inherently accurate defensive and combat pistols that I know of. The sights are high visibility and regulated to point of aim and point of impact from the factory. They are regulated so you will hit the part of the target that the front sight is covering rather than the point directly above the front sight. This can take some getting used to but I honestly see no practical disadvantage to it. Combine all this with the P7s service length sight radius as well as comfortable grip angle and you also achieve excellent practical accuracy. This gun is easy to hit the target with. The trigger is nice as well because it is a single action trigger. This may be the only gun you can carry with the striker uncocked but still able to fire the gun single action only.

This is where the HK P7 breaks down the classification rules of firearms. It is one of only a handful of delayed blowback pistol designs as well as a pistol that can be carried uncocked with a round in the chamber yet still be able to fire single action.

Lastly there are a number of different P7 variants. These are the PSP, P7, P7M8, P7M13, P7M10, P7K3, P7M7, P7PT8. The P7M7 and the P7PT8 will not be discussed here as the P7M7 was never in production and there are too many unverified stories out there on it and the P7PT8 was only a training weapon. The original design was the PSP, or Police Self-Loading Pistol. There is some distinction between the PSP and the P7 but are for our purposes here the same pistol. Basically the PSP is what was first built and the P7 is the end result of the German police pistol trials and what HK eventually built for them. This is the type that is most common in the United States and the type that I possess. It has a European style heel magazine release and a smaller trigger guard than the other variants. These were nearly all German police trade in pistols that were subsequently imported into the US. The P7M13, P7M10, and P7K3 will not be discussed in detail here because of their rarity and because the purpose of this is not to differentiate between all of them. The P7M13 is a high capacity 9mm P7 with a magazine capacity of 13 rounds. Other than that it is very similar to the P7M8 described below. The P7M10 is a 40 caliber weapon with a magazine capacity of 10 rounds. Other than that it is similar to the P7M13. The P7K3 is a three caliber set based on the P7 frame. Calibers include 380 ACP, 32 ACP, and 22 Long Rifle. They include barrels for the 380 and 32 and a whole different slide assembly for the 22. The 380 and 32 barrels are retained by a barrel nut unit since they cannot be permanently attached like the 9mm variants.

The P7M8 is the Americanized version of the P7. It is the same pistol with a few subtle differences. First is the magazine release behind the trigger guard. This works by levering it downward to release the magazine. This brings up the point that P7 PSP magazines will not work with P7M8 pistols and vise versa. The second major difference is the size and shape of the trigger guard and the noticeable heat shield in the top area of the trigger guard. There are other more subtle differences but they will not be discussed.

There are drawbacks to the P7 as well. There is no good without a little bad as well. Shortcomings include: strangeness of cocking lever, magazine availability, no night sights, capacity, maintenance, holster availability, heat buildup, availability and expense of the P7 (not made anymore).

The main drawback has to be the strangeness associated with the cocking lever. It takes more force to move the lever than it does to hold it there. If not trained properly it is not inconceivable to think that someone under stress would forget to squeeze the gun first before firing.

Even though the sights are of the high visibility type they never came from the factory with luminous night sights. Buying aftermarket sights and fitting them to this pistol is a most unwise idea as the sights on the gun have been carefully regulated at the factory and any modification to them will almost always result in point of aim and point of impact issues. The only solution left is to ship the slide of your pistol to a company like Trijicon or Meprolight and have them install their luminescent capsules into the existing sights on the pistol. This is a much more expensive option than just switching out the sights.

The P7 does not have a high capacity magazine. Only holding 8 rounds it was comparatively low capacity even for its time. Of course there are the standard arguments against high capacity but the P7 is still a low capacity pistol by the standards of today and by its size and weight to capacity ratio . This was remedied with the P7M13 but this caused an unnaturally wide grip that is noticeably more uncomfortable than the standard capacity grips of the P7 and P7M8.

It can be argued that since the P7 has the extra feature of the gas delayed blowback system that there is extra maintenance involved. This is true. You have to clean the gas cylinder and piston in addition to the normal cleaning areas. The piston will always have a layer of fouling that will need to be cleaned thoroughly with a rag or a toothbrush saturated in solvent. However you do not have to clean the cylinder all the time and the factory manual only says you need to clean it every 500 rounds. Some say you do not need to clean it ever. Most of the sources I have used state that it should be at the very least brushed and swabbed with solvent every 200 rounds and to never use the scraper because it will only enlarge the size of the gas cylinder leading to malfunction. Nonetheless it is another maintenance area that needs attention.

The aftermarket for P7 pistols is lacking, as they were never immensely popular pistols like Glocks or Beretta 92s. Holsters can be purchased from custom makers at prices that are comparable to any gun manufactured. Another problem is that the P7 and P7M8 holsters are not entirely interchangeable since the M8 has a larger trigger guard. Many P7 owners claim they can get by with an M8 holster for their P7 though. There is also not much area for a holster to grab onto the P7. The gun is composed primarily of its grip and there really is not much barrel sticking out past the trigger guard as opposed to other pistols. This means holsters have to be either very precisely made (this claim is refuted though with P7 users carrying their P7 in M8 holsters) or it must have a thumb break on the holster. And the design of the pistol does not make it easy to just put in the waistband. I know that generally speaking this is not a good practice but this would be one of the safest pistols to use this method with.

Since the pistol has the gas delay system it has a portion of the gun under the barrel that is directly exposed to heat. This is the gas cylinder and piston. Since the gas cylinder is located just below the barrel and chamber, the heat it absorbs is transferred to the area directly above the trigger. This is right where your finger rests when shooting. It is only a real problem when at the range and you are really going through rounds. I have rapid fired 4 magazines (as many as I have) and though the pistol was hot I felt I could have fired a few more before I got scalded. Some people advocate getting two guns for range work. I say that is silly but if you have the means go right ahead. In the end it is a practice problem not a defensive handgunning problem.

In general P7 pistols of all variants are quite pricey compared to the common alternatives such as Glocks or Springfield XDs. A standard PSP will fetch 600 dollars or more depending on condition and number of magazines. I think that you get a whole lot more than what you pay for given the amount of engineering and quality that is inherent in all P7 pistols. Looking at it from a pure cost perspective I think that if you were to account for inflation the average American buying one today is probably paying less than what the German police did for them back when they were new. On the issue of expense the magazines for the PSP are almost prohibitively expensive. They are fetching around 90 dollars right now. That and they are no longer produced so they are becoming harder to come by. P7M8 magazines are much less expensive even though the gun that uses them is more expensive. The M8 magazines are still being sold by HK at as well as through CDNN.

Another factor and perhaps the finishing factor is that the P7 pistol, in any variant, is no longer produced by HK. This is because of its extreme expense, lack of market, and focus on more fashionable and profitable designs. Nonetheless there is still a healthy supply of P7s in the United States and that should sate the P7 fans for at least awhile until the P7 is relegated to the realm of the collector making the use of these pistols unwise at best.

First of all night sights: With these great weapons comes a few drawbacks. Because of the high degree of care in which the P7 was made, the sights have been regulated very precisely. The accuracy you are achieving is a direct result of 3 things. First is that it has outstanding inherent accuracy. This means if the pistol were to be fired from a machine pointing at exactly the same spot each time the pistol will hold awesome groups. Not unlike firing a rifle from a benchrest. It has no place in the real world except for testing accuracy.

Second the gun has good practical accuracy. This is how easy the gun is to shoot accurately. Generally a gun with a long sight plane, such as guns with long barrels, will have better practical accuracy. Also, the gun has easy to align and has high visibility sights in the ages old three dot pattern. Though this pistol does not have the longest sighting plane, such as a 5" 1911 or a large long barrelled revolver, it does have a long sight plane proportionally to the overall size of the gun.

Third the sights have been carefully regulated at the factory. Those sights are aligned so the gun will shot to point of aim. Remember this though, the sights are regulated so point of impact is underneath the front sight as opposed to just above the front sight. It is a European idea that theoretically made for better combat shooting. Simply cover the target with the front sight and shoot. I tend to agree with it being a better idea in that regard but it makes target shooting a little harder and transitioning to other guns that do not have 3 dot sight systems is a little bit problematic.

There are aftermarket night sights available for the P7. They are not recommended to to install though because they interrupt the precise fitting of the sights to each individual pistol that happened at the factory. There have been plenty of incidents reported that changing sights will affect POA/POI. All is not lost though. You can, and indeed HK recommends this as well, send your slide assembly to a company like Trijicon or Meprolight or C-More and they will drill out the sight dots and install their luminescent nodules into those holes. Presto you have night sights. It is unfortunate you must desecrate a fine piece of firearm like the P7 to get night sights. I am a huge fan of night sights yet I would never consider doing this to my P7.

There are a few areas of the P7 pistol that are both good and bad to the user and one of those it the caliber. The 9mm Luger has been around for a century and still continues to shine. Some consider it adequate and some do not. It is a simple matter of personal preference on this one. It is a readily available and low cost cartridge comparatively speaking and with modern bullet design and propellant technology I see no reason why it cannot be considered a serious manstopper. It has been doing that job for longer than 3 of my lifetimes.

Another complaint of many is the weight of the P7 pistol. There are two perspectives you can use to look at this. It is true that by modern standards this is a heavy pistol for its size. It was designed and used before the heyday of polymer components in pistols. On the other hand I do not think there is a pistol out there that combines a service length barrel and a full size grip in so small of a package. I find it has both a good and bad size to weight ratio. If looking at the perspective of size then this is a plus but looking at it from weight it is bad.

The polygonal rifling has never been friendly to cast bullets and it is also conceivable that the lead could cause undo fouling in the gas ports and even the gas cylinder. It is best to just stay away from unplated bullets in this pistol.

This is not the end all be all pistol. It is not for everyone. It is different enough that it does not lend itself well to the more popular pistol types. It does however lend itself well to revolver shooters. I am a revolver shooter most of the time and when I acquired my P7 I found the transition to be quite easy. I am not averse to the heel magazine release either as I have never gotten used to the button or lever types behind the trigger guard. There is of course a simple solution to the heel magazine release and that is the option of the P7M8. The design of the pistol would, at least theoretically, make it more reliable than the average pistol of today. There are accounts of this pistol firing several thousand trouble free rounds. I can say that mine had a malfunction in the first 20 rounds I put through it. In the end I firmly believe it was faulty ammunition which brings up the point that no matter how good the design is there are other factors in play in real life that even a good design cannot overcome.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Took My Kentucky CCDW Class

I had to take a class to be able to apply for my State of Kentucky CCDW (Carry of Concealed Deadly Weapons License). This, as any who have a feair amount of firearms experience will know is very remedial. I found the laws that were overviewed to be somewhat helpful although quite boring. It brought me back to when I was in college as a Criminal Justice student. What most pleased me though was that it was the first time I had shot at a silhouette target in quite some time. Even though the range was only 21 feet I was quite impressed with my shooting.

I have never really been a proponent of pinpoint accuracy nor have I structured my practice or competition routines based purely on it. However I managed to fire 20 rounds in about 30 seconds from my Smith and Wesson Model 60 38 Special. This was firing double action only. As has been posted before this is a handgun that I am quite fond of. This one happens to be a Model 60-7 which was produced throughout the 90s. It is of all stainless steel construction and does not really fit in with the ultra lightweight revolvers that are fashionable these days. I find it to be quite comfortable though and even though the only thing I dont like about it is the hammer spur that can be remedied in short order. I hesitate to modify this revolver though because it is so nice the way it is already.