Saturday, March 17, 2012

Reminiscing About Pistols I Have Shot

I don't know what set my mind to reminiscing about which handguns I had fired throughout my lifetime but something put that bug in my brain and I simply could not shake it. That is, I could not shake it without trying to remember at least those with which I had some limited familiarity and also with which I had lots of fun. Over the past 32 years, when I was a federal LEO, from 1979 through 1983, and also during one couple of month period in the late 70s when I was not yet so employed, I owned, or had been issued, or shot various brands and models of handguns. All those owned by me and issued to me were shot by me but I also shot plenty of pistols and revolvers that belonged to other people too. During my 14 years of collateral duties as a firearms instructor with, the now defunct, U.S. Customs Service, I also got a lot more experience with handguns which I did not actually own or even fire on a regular basis. That experience came by way of others firing them at the range while I was instructing or performing range officer duties and it was often hands on while trying to correct problems for the shooters.

Here is a list of the pistols and revolvers I remember having owned (how many I owned in parentheses):

Beretta 21 in .22LR (1)
Beretta 70S (2, one was stolen)
Beretta 92SB (1)
Beretta 92SF (2)
Beretta 950 Jetfire (at least 4 and maybe 5 of them)
Charter Arms Explorer II (1)
Glock 26 (1)
RG .25 Auto (1)
Ruger Mark II (1)
Ortgies Pocket Auto (1)

Charter Arms Undercover .38 Snubnose (1)
Charter Arms Pathfinder (1)
Smith & Wesson 17-8 (1)
Smith & Wesson Model 66 with 2.5" barrel (2)
Smith & Wesson Model 66 with 4" barrel (1)

Black Powder Single Shot:
CVA Philadelphia Derringer (1)

That is twenty, or so. It is not an impressive number to have owned. I do hope to own more in the future but I should point out not to impress people. Impressing people was never why I bought the pistols unless it was to impress upon myself and them the fun you can have with them and the legitimate uses you can have for them such as self defense or hunting. I got each of them to serve a purpose and hopefully each would last a long time at doing what I intended them to do. I will admit, some people have seemed awestruck by the few I do own; then again, I do live in that ultra leftist bastion of New York. I really do not give a rat's tokas about what they think here, unless I can change them into becoming gun friendly. If awed by the ones I own, well read on and imagine how they would feel about all the ones I have shot; yet, I think the number I have shot should increase at least 5 fold, if not more.

Without dallying further, allow me to list those that were issued to me, and those I am pretty certain others owned who were kind enough to let me shoot them with some frequency. Handguns that I was issued, over the years in my federal civil service career, included:

Colt Border Patrol (1)
Colt Detective Special (at least 2 and maybe 3)
Smith & Wesson Model 19 (at least 3)
Smith & Wesson Model 36 (at least 2)
Smith & Wesson Model 49 (1)
Smith & Wesson model 60 (at least 2)
Smith & Wesson Model 66 with 4" barrel (1)
Smith & Wesson Model Model 66 with 2.5 barrel (at least 1)
Smith & Wesson 686, the CS1 (at least 1)

Glock 26 (2)
Glock 19 (1)
Smith & Wesson 59 (at least 1)
Smith & Wesson 6906 (2)
SIG 229 .40 caliber (1)

Note that I said 'at least' several times, with regard to how many I was issued. The reason I said at least so many is because I know I had been issued at least the number shown above and maybe more. There are a few reasons why I may have been issued more than one each. Reasons pistols and revolvers were replaced were: breakages, a handgun reaching the end of its serviceable life, a change of duty station or change of agency and so on. Sometimes, as in the case of the Glock 26, it was a voluntary turning in of the first issued one and then later being issued another. With the Glock 26, my assignment changed and I no longer felt the need to maintain 2 pistols, a Glock 19 and a 26 as backup. I gave up the smaller one so someone in our narcotics unit could have it issued to him for a backup piece We had a limited number of them available at the time and I felt it better used by someone who would more likely need a backup on the street than I would in my duties at that time. I was issued another, later on, when I was back doing narcotics or money laundering cases.

Handguns that I have neither owned nor had issued to me but that I have shot a decent number of times, meaning several times and with some regularity, included:

ASP (1)
Astra Constable (1)
Beretta 92SB Compact (1)
Bernadelli AMR in .22LR (1)
Bersa 23 (1)
Broomhandle Mauser (1, maybe 2)
Browning Challenger II (1)
Browning Hi-Power (1)
Colt 1911 in .45 auto, various models (at least 5)
Colt 1911 in .38 Super (1)
Colt Woodsman probably third series (1)
Erma RX-22 (1)
German Luger cannot recall manufacturer (1)
Glock 19 (at least 5)
Glock 26 (at least 5)
Heckler & Koch USP 9 (at least 2)
High Standard Target pistol in .22LR, cannot recall the model (1)
Interdynamic KG9 (1)
Intra-Tec Tec 9 (1)
Jennings .22 pistol (1)
Kahr 9mm, do not recall the model number (1)
Kel-Tec in 9mm, cannot recall the model number (1)
Kimber Classic .45 Auto (1)
Llama XV (1) {Let me add, oh how I want one of these!}
SIG 226 (1)
Smith & Wesson 39 (at least 10)
Smith & Wesson 6906 (at least 15)
Star Model B (1)
Taurus PT-92 (1)
Walther PP in .380 (1)
Walther PPK in .22LR (1)
Walther PPKS in .22LR (2)
Walther PPKS in .380 Auto (2)

Colt Anaconda (1)
Colt Cobra (1)
Colt Detective Special (3)
Colt Lawman MK III (1)
Colt Police Positive (1)
Colt Python (2)
Colt Trooper MK III in .22LR (1)
Dan Wesson Pistol Pac in .357 Magnum unsure of model (1)
Freedom Arms Mini Revolver .22LR (1)
Freedom Arms Mini revolver .22 Magnum (1)
Harrington & Richardson 999 Sportsman (1) {I would love to have one of these too.) 
Harrington & Richardson Model 929 Sidekick (1)
Harrington & Richardson cannot recall models (2)
High Standard High Sierra (1)
Iver Johnson Revolver in .22LR, cannot recall the model (1)
North American Arms Mini Revolver in .22LR (2)
Rossi in .357 cannot remember model (1)
Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Magnum  (1)
Ruger Blackhawk New Model (1)
Ruger GP-100 (2)
Ruger Super Single Six Convertible New Model (1)
Smith & Wesson model 10 with 3 inch barrel (1)
Smith & Wesson Model 10 with 4" barrel (at least 4)
Smith & Wesson Model 15 the K-38 Combat Masterpiece (1)
Smith & Wesson Model 17 the K-22 (1)
Smith & Wesson Model 337 Airlite (1)

High Standard Derringer .22 magnum (2)
Sundance Point Blank (1)

I know there were some other derringers in the mix but for the life of me cannot remember which ones in particular but I am sure one or two were Colts. I am also certain there were other revolvers and pistols too but 33 or so years of shooting handguns is a long time and the gray cells' ability to recall such things has been clouded over by time and variety. Heck, in order to remember some of these I had to go through the 2011 Standard Catalog of Firearms page by page over the course of a few hours to get the gray cells out of their fog. I am pretty sure I got the above models right (otherwise I said I could not recall the model when I had no clue) but I could be off on some after all the time since I shot them.

In addition to the ones I became familiar with, there were also some I shot maybe a total of once or twice. I did not even try to remember them since my thoughts along those lines go something like: "Hey, I also shot most of Archie's guns when we were in the Border Patrol in Calexico and then there were George's handguns also in California and some of Don's pistols in NY and Wyoming and whatever the guys and gals brought to the range for me to check out now and again and the neat things Pete G. sometimes showed up with and whatever the other range officers brought to the range and..."

If you guessed it looks like I had a fun time shooting - you would be right. I you figure I must be some sort of expert on these pistols, I am not. It sure may look, to some, as if I have fired a wide variety of handguns and thus that makes me an expert of sorts but, the truth be told, all it means is I have shot them before. Well, it means something else too; there are hundreds if not thousands of others out there that I would love to shoot and with which I would like to become familiar enough to be able to tell you a bit about them should we ever meet over a beer or at the range or anywhere when we get to talking guns. Yes there are some guns on which I may be considered an expert or limited expert to one degree or another but as far as most of them go, I just had fun with them. As to whether or not I am an expert shot, that is another thing altogether.

I can tell you, there were some handguns among those I owned, those I was issued, and those belonging to others that I got to shoot, that I liked a lot and others that I think were outright pieces of junk. Of the ones I have owned or have been issued, I like the Berettas the best. I have never been issued one but have owned a good number of them. By the way, in case you were wondering, the reason for owning so many Jetfires was that most got ruined by corrosion in extremely harsh environs. Such as one that was forgotten in my pants pocket as I waded back and forth through salt water, over the course of at least a few hours, to help secure a load of seized narcotics. In and out of the salt water over a few hours time and then sitting around until my pants dried out over a couple of more hours more assured that pistol's finish was ruined. As for the Berettas, I have to point out that I have rarely, if ever, been disappointed when shooting a pistol made by Beretta. A close second for a favorites brand would be the Glock pistols that I have owned and have been issued. I suppose next in line comes the Colts, well the Colt revolvers anyway.

As for the handguns that were big disappointments, well my very first handgun purchase was a RG-25. It was verifiable a piece of junk that I stripped into its component parts and then through into different areas of a salt water bay to dispose of it back in the late 1970s. It was though, a good learning experience for me. Other real clunkers were the Jennings 22, the Erma 22, one of the High Standard derringers, the High Standard revolver, the Sundance Point Blank, the Charter Arms Undercover and the Dan Wesson revolver. I have to give an explanation as for the DW revolver. I think it misfired several times but only because the friend who owned it put in an aftermarket custom spring kit. As I recall, he took it back out and replaced the original springs and the revolver worked well again - imagine that.

That last is a good lesson I learned with firearms. I do not tinker with them by taking out things like the original springs and replacing them with aftermarket spring kits to lighten the trigger pull. Maybe I would on a target gun, if I was using it to compete, but I would never do so on a gun used for self defense or hunting. I want shots taken at those times to go bang, especially in self defense situations. I will change original springs with aftermarket springs in the event the spring has sprung, so to speak, and needs replacing. I try to buy a replacement that is up to specs with the original. Then, I give it a darned good testing before relying on it for use on the street. But I  have lost my aim for the moment here and I know I could go on for hours and hours and hours in all directions that a speeding bullet could travel, so I will get back on target.

As for the different guns mentioned above, they were just the handguns. I have yet to reminisce about the rifles, shotguns and sub-machine guns with which I have had even more shooting good times. I don't think there can be anywhere nearly as many rifles that I have owned, been issued or fired. Let me rethink that; yes it could actually be that I have owned more rifles than pistols but I have not been issued nearly as many rifles and shotguns as I have been issued pistols and revolvers. As for ones other folks have let me shoot, I have to really stimulate the little gray cells into trying to remember which ones I have had the pleasure of shooting. That though is for another day and another blog post.

I was thinking of starting a meme on the subject of getting other firearms bloggers to name all the handguns they have fired but I figured some folks whom I would give that task could probably fill about 10 or more pages with their lists, double spaced at that! I don't know if they are ready to do it or if I am ready for the replies! Then again, it could make interesting reading. If any of you feel like doing it, let me know since I am always interested to see what others have shot. You can list em in the comment section here for this post or on your own blog. Just make sure to let me know if you are doing it on your blog so I will be sure to see it. 

Now I have to start thinking about the rifles and shotguns I have shot and maybe all the  guns I still want to shoot. I can probably do a nice post on the ones I have shot but Heaven forbid I write up the wish list of ones I have not yet fired but that I would like to shoot. That could take me a week or more to complete.

All the best,
Glenn B