Home on the Range… with a 9mm

It was a glorious day today, the perfect opportunity to make the first year’s trip to my preferred “range.”  Of course, not wanting to come empty handed, I brought along a few friends:  the PPQ, Sig P226, Beretta 92fs, Walther P1, CZ-75, and the Browning Buck Mark.  I stopped at McDonald’s for some breakfast, and knowing that my companions couldn’t eat McMuffins I also brought 200 rounds of 9mm and a box of .22s for them to digest.

First, a look at the “range”:

No, I’m not having a picnic.  The sheet is to catch brass for reloading.

This is a glimpse of the family farm, located approximately 40 miles from my current home.  It’s about three miles from nowhere and is a mix of tillable farmland, woodland, and includes a creek that runs through the property.  The wooden bench has stood for 25 years since my father constructed it from lumber and hedge logs for he and I to sight in centerfire rifles.  There used to be a wooden target stand at 100 yards (approximately where the black speck is seen to the upper left of my portable target stand), but the elements claimed it many years ago.  Without getting into all the details, the farm has been in my family for 130 years and is my favorite place on earth for many, many reasons… more than I can go into today.  No range fees, no waiting, and no one else to bother me, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the morning.  The only downside is that it doesn’t work well in inclement weather, which has been the case in the Midwest for the past several months.

Anyway, down to business.   I shot at 10 yards initially, but decided this distance wasn’t illustrating the differences in each pistol that I wanted to see.  Here’s what happened at 10 yards.  Targets are, in order from left to right, top to bottom:  CZ-75, 92fs and P226 (as marked), CZ-75, PPQ, P1 (click on the image to view larger).

So, I moved the stand to 50 ft out and burned through some more ammunition.  First, the P1 and Buck Mark, 10 shots each.  The Buck Mark will pack them in as close as the shooter can hold, and it’s a blast (pun intended).  My first shot out of the Buck Mark reminded me that I forgot to put on my ear muffs.  Oops… at least it was with the .22.  Anyway, the P1, while not exactly a tack driver, kept everything on the paper and had quite a few shots in a decent group area.

Next up are the PPQ’s targets.  Consider this the P1’s great, great grandson.  This is a great pistol and if you haven’t read my past posts on this fabulous handgun, look them up.  For a light, midsize striker-fired pistol, this gun offers a lot.  The trigger is outstanding, which shows on the paper.  And the sights are dialed in and regulated well for elevation.  Windage is adjustable on the PPQ, which is a nice touch that many service autos don’t offer as standard equipment.

Here’s what the 92fs delivered.  Maybe not quite as tight as the PPQ, but still not shabby and the fixed night sights are dialed in right to point of aim.  I thoroughly enjoy the Beretta and consider it one of my favorites.  It’s just a smooth, well engineered easy shooting “9.”  It will always have a home in my safe.

Ahh, yes, the CZ-75b.  I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this pistol.  Well, that description might be a little much, but I’ve wanted this pistol to be one of my favorites but can’t seem to get it there.  However, every time I think of trading it off for something else it reminds me how accurate it can be.  Sights are off a little to the left, but that can be easily fixed.  The biggest issues I have with the CZ is the trigger.   First, it has the longest reach of any of my service autos, even in single action.  And, the trigger is horrid.  It has a gritty cam action at the end of the pull that throws me off.  I’m holding on to the CZ with the intention of one day getting some work done on it (maybe a shorter reach trigger and a better sear from Cajun Gunworks), as I think with the right finishing touches it could be the pistol I’ve always wanted it to be.

Finally, the Sig P226.  I shot a few groups with this because I’ve been struggling with this pistol for awhile.  Struggling, in terms of determining what niche it fills in my line-up.  Yes, it’s the “226” which to some people is iconic enough to warrant a permanent space in the lineup.  But here’s the deal.  It’s a full size SA/DA 9mm auto with a decocker.  It performs on par with my other pistols, but not measurably better than the average of what I get from my other 9mms.  And, I don’t know that it does anything that my Sig SP2022 (or even my Beretta PX4 Storm of 92fs) don’t do.  And it certainly isn’t as good a shooter as the PPQ.  On the first group, two shot were off the paper to the left.  Yes, it’s just sight regulation, but the fact remains that the Sig didn’t, and still doesn’t, give me anything my other pistols don’t already.  And, it’s not my “go to” pistol for anything:  range, home, etc.  If my state ever passes concealed carry, the Sig will still stay home.  So, I shot it, enjoyed it, and made a decision I hadn’t planned on making today.  More on that in my next post.

All in all, today was a great day.  Spent the time running a few of the 9mms through their paces and ended with expending a large quantity of .22 through the Buck Mark, making a certain Sobe bottle wish it had never been born (errr… molded).


About martowski

Garden-variety professional with one too many hobbies.
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4 Responses to Home on the Range… with a 9mm

  1. smarttactics says:

    Quick question:
    are you possibly left eye dominant but a right handed shooter? I have trained many thousands of shooters from local law enforcement, military and federal agents and with over 81,000 over the past 10 years, seeing those shot groups shows that you may have a dominant eye different than what you think or have thought (most people think that just because they are right-handed then they must be right eye dominant, which is not true). I would not say that unless I see the same pattern on many of your targets so it is not the pistol. Keep on writing….

  2. martowski says:

    Not to my knowledge. I am right handed and as far as I know am right eye dominant (when I line up an index finger to a point with both eyes open, it ends up lining up with the right eye).

  3. smarttactics says:

    Same test that I perform to check my shooters:
    -Both eyes open
    -Point with dominant hands’ index finger
    -Close weak eye (finger will stay on target)
    -Open weak eye
    -Close strong eye (finger will “jump” to the strong side)
    The finger will always jump to the dominant side no matter what. Is a foolproof way to check the shooter’s dominant eye.

  4. martowski says:

    That’s the same test I use. I’m definitely right eye dominant.

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