Thursday, May 2, 2013

Another Few Dealers Added to My Link List

My ever expanding list of gun dealers, firearms parts and accessories suppliers, ammo dealers and firearms auction sites has grown by two three. The list contains only dealers from whom I have made purchases or online services that I have used such as online firearms auction houses. The two dealers I have added are:

Buffer Technologies

Palmetto State Armory

I ordered ten 10 round magazines, for my Beretta 92 series pistols.  They had them at a great price of $15.00 each. They are Italian made, Beretta factory manufactured magazines from what I can tell, and from what it said in the ad and on the invoice (in other words the genuine article). My guess is these were police or military surplus (although I do not know why any military would order 10 round mags) that were in storage for awhile. They had a dull finish on the outside possibly made that way or possibly caused by slight amount of surface rust, only seen when I cleaned them with white cloths wetted with Gunzilla.  It is possible they were refinished on the outside surface but I do not think so. The insides and the springs look brand new, just the outside had either a dull finish or the finish that was dulled by the slight amount of rust. These were a great buy since Beretta recently offered the same magazines at about $44 apiece but had none available when I looked to them to order some. I am happy they were out of stock at Beretta and in stock at Buffer Technologies. They shipped fast and shipped to NY even though many companies refused to ship 10 round mags to NY, after passage of the NY SAFE Act, even though it was legal to do so. A hat tip to Buffer technologies. By the way, those mags sold out overnight but I am happy to say I posted the info about them on the forums at Long island Firearms and at least a few folks said they picked some up.

As for my order with Palmetto State Armory, I ordered 500 rounds of American Eagle, 115 grain, FMJ, 9mm ammo from them last week. It arrived yesterday, was waiting on my doorstep when I arrived home. I would liked to have seen them ship faster than having to wait 6-7 days just for the item to be shipped and then a couple more to receive it but I can understand the delay with the ammo buying frenzy that has been taking place because: 1. Obama was reelected, 2. Obama is extremely anti-gun as opposed to anything he said otherwise and he always claimed to be gun friendly, 3. Gun control laws being passed by emotional twits in state governments to oppress our liberties and destroy our rights instead of executing dangerous violent criminals and lock away the mentally ill, 4. The government buying huge quantities of ammunition to supply Obama's civilian force to make it as strong as the military (a campaign promise or post-campaign promise in his first term). But I digress. Palmetto State Armory shipped my order of ammunition reasonably well packaged, sent what I actually ordered and had a pretty good price for the ammo at the current time It went for $17.99 per box of 50. Note, I did not say a great price nor a price from before the ammo buying frenzy, I said a pretty good price and since the next closest offer I saw for the same ammo was double that price, yep that was pretty good. Hopefully that is a sign that ammo prices will soon fall.

I should note that it took at least 3 order attempts and a total of about 40 minutes for my to be able to place an order with them. My guess is that even DHS was trying to order from them at that price.

I would gladly do business again with either of these companies.

By the way, I found that lower ammo price by checking with:

I guess I am really adding three sites to my link list. GUNBOT offers an invaluable service to the ammunition consumer by listing, in virtual real time, ammunition as it becomes available and the prices at which it is selling.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Basics of Trigger Finger Placement - Helping Oldtime and New Shooter Alike

It is never too soon to learn or too late to relearn one of the basics of pistol shooting, specifically Trigger Finger Placement, but it could turn out too late to learn if you wind up needing to depend on your pistol for self-defense or defense of others and have not learned it already. Note there I a subtle difference between it never being too late to relearn and too late to learn when it appears in words but it would likely be the difference between life and death in the real world. If you don't understand what I mean, you are hopeless, don't read further.

Ok, so you decided to read on; I imagine that means you understood what I meant and are still alive and capable of learning or relearning before it is too late.  (If you are pretty much an idiot, thus virtually incapable of learning, but just curious, it means you are still alive and there is, at least, an outside chance for you yet.)

I have been an avid pistol shooter since I was in my mid-twenties. That means I have been shooting pistols, with regularity, for 33.5 years now - almost to the day. In that time I have been a terrible shot, a passable shot, a mediocre shot, a good shot, an expert shot and intermittently a distinguished expert (intermittent with expert), then again a fair to good shot, back to an expert and distinguished expert all over again. I pretty much made progress in that order, then declined, then once again made progress just as outlined in the previous sentence. Of course, there were some times in there, when I was not consistently, a distinguished expert or an expert but once I had achieved the ability to qualify as an expert shooter, I rarely fell below that mark except during the odd qualification course when I was off my mark. I had collateral duties as a firearms instructor, for about 14 years, when I was employed as a federal agent; and I am currently a certified NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor for pistol and shotgun. You can rest assured, I know the basics of pistol shooting.  Mind you, I am not bragging, just giving you my background because it is pertinent to what I said about it never being too late to relearn pistol shooting basics regarding trigger finger placement.

Back in June 2011, I attended an NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor School for pistol and shotgun. I did very well but I was shooting groups somewhat to the left. It wasn’t much, certainly not enough to concern me when shooting even out to 15 yards but at 25 yards I was not doing as good as I should have been doing. Even the course instructors did not seem concerned by it.  Then one of the instructors mentioned something to us, about how to teach other shooters, the proper way to place your finger on the trigger. The light bulb lit up and I tried it just the way they had shown it. My shots were back on center target in virtually no time so long as I did it just the way they told us to do it. It was almost like I had learned it for the first time but I knew better. It was more a case of me getting lazy, forming bad habits, and not thinking I (already a good shot and an instructor) could have forgotten one of the basics. The truth is though, I had probably had my bad habit for a few years because I consistently had been shooting like that with my Glock pistols, be it my issued Model 19, my issued model 26 or my personally owned model 26. Another firearms instructor, on my job, adjusted the sights never thinking to check my trigger finger position; he was guilty, as was I, of thinking I would not be making a novice’s mistake. Then when I was issued a SIG 229 DAH, I also sometimes shot like that. Same was true  with my Beretta 92FS pistols but I shot them nowhere nearly as much as the Glocks or SIG once each respectively became the issued pistols at my agency and never noticed it that much when shooting the Berettas. In addition, Glocks and SIG were all double action only pistols; the Berettas are double action on the first shot, then single action for subsequent shots and what I was doing wrong effected my shooting less when firing a single action pistol because of the shortened trigger travel and the smaller amount of strength to pull the trigger in single action mode.

Getting back to the NRA class, I had been using my Glock for most of the class. I had to change to one of my Berettas, luckily I had to foresight to bring along a back-up pistol, because the front night sight on my Glock dimmed and it became almost impossible to sight it in in low light situations. I continued to use the Glock during daylight shooting though and had planned on sending it off to Glock in July of that summer. As I said, during the course the instructors covered the basics of how to place the trigger finger on the trigger as well as all the other basics of pistol shooting. Why – because they wanted to make sure that all of the seasoned shooters taking the course, some previously qualified as instructors like me, had not forgotten and would not forget any of the basics when instructing new students. I was happy for it because I realized why I was shooting to the left just a bit. Shortly after that though, I pretty much stopped shooting for the greater part of a year. I was diagnosed with a bad case of throat cancer in the mid-summer of 2011 and went through treatments from the late summer through most of the fall. I forgot all about shooting except to make it to the range at work, for quarterly qualification in October 2011 before the treatments had really gotten to me badly as they most certainly were about to do. With all that going on, I pretty much forgot about the sights on the Glock needing replacement.

Sooner, well actually later, I sent in the Glock to get new sights, I think that was in April or May 2012. I opted for what I thought would be standard iron (steel) sights. That June, I was dismayed to receive the pistol back with plastic (actually polymer) sights and having Glock tell me those were now their standard sights. Again, after some procrastination, I sent the pistol back to Glock, in December 2012 (yes 6 moths of procrastination) that time specifically saying I wanted Glock manufactured Iron (steel) sights. I got it back fairly quickly with the iron sights on it. Now, it may seem like I took a really long time to address the problem with the sights but truth be told, I was not shooting at the time and did not give a rat’s arse. I had not shot at all between October 2011 and March 2012 when I finally was feeling well enough, after beating the cancer, to go to the range. That got me thinking about the Glock all over again and shortly after that I sent it in for repairs. Yeah, there was a long time in between the polymer sights on the first repair and the iron sights on the second repair – mostly because I was not shooting a lot because I was still not feeling all that great. The most shooting I did between October 2011 and December 2012 was at the 5th Annual NE Bloggershoot at a supersekrit location in NH. Otherwise, range trips were few and far between. It was not until this spring that I really started shooting again in earnest, about a year and three quarters after first finding out was ill.

I guess I shot the Glock twice this spring, since I had received it with the iron sights on it. As before, I was shooting to the left. I thought it was he sights and that they needed adjusting. After all, I was not shooting like that with my Beretta 92FS pistols or my Beretta 92SB. How soon I had forgotten the lesson I learned in June 2011 at the NRA training. I blame it all on what the docs and nurses called chemo-brain. Between the chemo and the radiation my brain was probably partially roasted and memory failed me a bit more than it had before that. It’s not like I am walking around with a buddy named Al Z. Heimer, in fact it has improved since the months after the treatments but I did forget or just not think about some things after going through all that. One of those things was trigger finger placement.

Then, just two weekends ago, I started to take the NY State Armed Guard Training Course in order to get an armed guard license. The course is 47 hours long and takes place over a period of six days, in this case all the days being spread out over three weekends. On day one, I shot to the left, pretty miserably when taking aimed shots using the sights. I was not happy; my groups were 2-4” to the left at 7 yards, 4-6” to the left at 15 yards and 4-“ to the left at 25 yards, most of them being 6-8 inches to the left. Since I was about the second best shot there, the instructors focused on the weaker shooters and only one mentioned the possibility I was jerking the trigger. I mentioned my poor performance to another shooter and chalked it up to the sights needing adjustment as had been done with on previous Glocks I had fired, and on this one when it had the night sights. I said I would ask an instructor if they had a Glock sight adjustment tool the next day. The other student said: ‘don’t  bother, I will bring mine in for you’. He did just that on Sunday but, as luck would have it, I never got a chance to use it and that was lucky for me. As it turned out my shots kept grouping to the left even though I knew I was not jerking the trigger and thought I had been doing everything correctly. I figured I would use the sight tool the next weekend.

The Friday night of the following weekend, weekend two for the class, I happened to watch this video (it is long but was well worth the watch for me and it was quire amusing – note: never try the shooting and target holding stunts depicted in said video as they are extremely dangerous): RARE - LASD Pistol Team Exhibition, Historic, 1936, Color enhanced.

If you don’t watch any more of it, watch the section beginning at 5 minutes 52 seconds into the video and for a few seconds after that. You will see what I was doing and what I should have been doing. In the video, the instructor walks up to the shooter and corrects his trigger finger placement. (Of course, if you watch carefully, you will see the shooter push his finger back to almost the original position and you can bet if he shot like that his shooting would have suffered for it but remember they were mugging it for the cameras.)

Well, I was doing pretty much what that shooter had been doing. I had as much of my finger shoved through the trigger guard, as I get through it, with part of the middle section of my trigger finger resting on the trigger itself and thus the rear section of my trigger finger resting on the right side of the fame and partially on the right grip. That is begging for your shots to go to the left if you are a right handed shooter, or to the right if you are a left handed shooter. All I had to do to correct was to simply place the center of the pad of my trigger finger on the center of the trigger and do everything else the same as I had been doing. Doing so immediately corrected my shooting because it moved the rest of my finger off of the frame and the grip panel. Now, instead of me squeezing (pulling/pressing) the trigger back and at the same time pushing to the left with the second knuckle and rear part of my trigger finger (which is what happens when you hold with too much finger on the trigger), I was pulling the trigger straight back and the rest of my finger formed an arch that was not touching the gun.

My shots were no longer off to the left, I was hitting center of mass. Although still not shooting as good as I used to shoot, my group was wider than I would have liked it to have been, I have to say that the change was quite remarkable. All in simply adjusting my trigger finger on the trigger and then keeping it that way. The next day, I placed my finger on the trigger in the same manner. When we shot two qualification courses, I got 100% on each. I think one other shooter out of 14 of us equaled that but my group sizes were better than his. Sure that made me feel good but the important thing was not how I felt but that I had relearned one of the fundamental lessons of pistol shooting that I had forgotten somewhere along the way. It also reminded me that, in most cases it is not the gun that causes anyone to shoot poorly - it is much more likely due to what we used to call piss poor shooting skills or what today one might call, in a much more politically correct world, user error.

Now, granted, I could have explained the poor shooting technique to you and then told you how to properly apply your finger to the trigger in all of one or two short paragraph(s) but I like telling the whole story. I figured in this case it would show how applicable getting it applied correctly is to the new shooter as well as to the seasoned professional shooter and that the basics are something you always need to practice if you want to keep shooting on the mark. I hope that the longer version has made it sink in just a little better than would have the shorter one. If I have bored you, and you ever need to come back to read this again, then just read the last couple of paragraphs above; they should work for you, they contain the basic premise of proper trigger finger placement.

All the best,
Glenn B