Sunday, February 26, 2012

More DB9 Terminal Ballistics Tests

For months I've been talking about this great ballistics box I built over the Winter and how excited I was about getting out to the range and finally testing it out.  Today was the day to see if this new box was going to be awesome or just another waste of time and money.  Unfortunately, even with all the "over engineering" I thought I had built into the box, it was a disappointment.  Let's just say that my investment in Sim-Test media saved the day.  Enough of that, you probably want to see the details of my tests.

I started out slow and tested two .380 ACP rounds.  I tested two Remington products.  My first test was the 102 grain Golden Saber.  I shot two rounds over a chronograph, through two layers of dry denim, and into my polymer gel catch media.  Velocities from the two shots were 775 and 790 feet per second.  My second tested round was the Remington/UMC 88 grain JHP loading.  My measured velocities were 786 and 880 feet per second.  This load penetrated two layers of dry denim before entering the catch media.  Bullets were fired from a Kahr P380 with a 2.5" barrel.  Muzzle to catch box distance was 7 feet.



Golden Saber performance was pretty dismal with only partial expansion.  The Remington/UMC 88 grain loading has tested well in all my previous velocity tests but today I happened to draw a very underpowered test round and a normal round.  The slow loading failed to expand and the normal velocity load shed it's jacket.  I'm not impressed by either loading.

The impact energy of the .380 ACP ammo was already causing stress on the bullet trap.  Rather than continue to push things with additional .380 tests, I reconfigured my catch box with 3 slabs of Sim Test media backed with my polymer media.  I really needed to test 3 specific 9mm loads from a Diamondback DB9 that has a 3" barrel.

As some of you know, the Diamondback DB9 is a relatively new micro 9mm pocket pistol.  It started shipping in June of 2011.  I personally have documented my issues and successes with my DB9's at several points in this blog.  My biggest issue with the DB9 is the magazines.  They simply will not allow the DB9 to reliably feed Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot ammunition.  Diamondback Firearms recommends Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain FTX and Remington Golden Saber 124 grain BJHP as reliable feeders.  I've had exceptionally good success with Remington/UMC 115 grain JHP bulk packs.  The goal today was to test these three loadings and assure they would expand reliably from the DB9's 3" barrel.

Each loading was shot 7 feet away from the bullet trap.  Each round passed through a chronograph before passing through 2 layers of denim, 12" of Sim-Test mixed to ballistics gel density, and finally coming to rest in my polymer catch media.  All rounds passed through all 12" of Sim Test, but their final penetration distance was not captured.  The goal today was to verify expansion and not document penetration.

Golden Saber was the first to cross the chronograph with two shots registering 1035 and 1008 feet per second.  Performance was good with full expansion.
 
The next load tested was Remington/UMC 115 grain JHP.  The two shots achieved velocities of 1098 and 1141 feet per second.  Expansion was also good, though slightly less uniform than the other pairs tested.  This may be attributed to the velocity variance between the two shots.

The last test was done with Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain FTX.  The two tested shots achieved velocities of 1015 and 1004 feet per second.  Expansion was also good.


Performance from all three 9mm defense loadings was a nice confidence booster in the current state of the ammunition industry.  I felt it was important to test 2 rounds from each load in order to better gauge the consistency of the ammunition and make sure that good or bad performance wasn't just a fluke.  In the following pictures the loads are positioned in the order they were tested and reported on above.  Remington Golden Saber, Remington/UMC JHP, and Hornady Critical Defense.


I always strive to present the facts as I see them and skip the endorsement or recommendation of one product over another.  Based on what I tested today, I have confidence that any of these rounds could expand at the velocities achieved from the 3" test barrel.  Ultimately, you will decide if one of these loads appeals to you based on their cost, availability, and function in your specific pistol.  I do think that all three tested loads are worthy of your consideration.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Diamondback DB9 - Follow-up Review

I've had my DB9 for just about 9 months now.   Back on June 5, 2011 I posted a blog that had my review and range report.  You can see that blog here.  I've received several emails and comments from readers that were considering a DB9 of their own and found my review helpful in making their decision.

Over the last 9 months I've had the chance to shoot and carry my DB9 pretty extensively.  I estimate that my original DB9 now has over 750 rounds through it.  The initial issues with the DB9 pistol were resolved over the last few months with a redesigned magazine follower and a free set of knurled pins that eliminated the walking frame pins.

I found another issue developed with the magazines as they aged and lost some of their initial spring tension.  This started happening about 3 to 4 months after I got my DB9.  For me, this issue has been problematic because I would like to carry Federal's excellent performing 124 grain HST round.  I know this round performs perfectly in the short barreled DB9 because I tested it and reported on it here.  Unfortunately, this round starts to cause nose diving issues in the DB9 magazines as they start to get some age on them.  The also excellent Speer Gold Dot 124 grain will also nose dive and fail to feed from older magazines.

Diamondback Firearms has heard the complaints of their customers, but has yet to do anything about the magazine failures to feed these two ammunition loadings.  Their response has been to use the Hornady 115 grain Critical Defense round.  I've never tested Hornady Critical Defense so I have been using Remington/UMC 115 grain JHP ammo that's available at Walmart and many other sources.  I've run enough of the Remington ammo through this gun that I have full confidence it will feed all the time.

Last week I ordered some magazine components for a Kel-Tec PF9 magazine in hopes that I could modify them to work in the DB9 magazine and possibly get my DB9 to feed the HST and Gold Dot rounds again.

I ordered magazine springs and followers.  The next few photos show the Diamondback magazine parts next to the Kel-Tec magazine parts.
Springs


Followers



I tried a few things with the components that I won't bore you with.  Let's just say that after fitting the follower it made no improvement with feeding.  I'd love to have the 45 minutes of my life back that was spent slowly sanding, filing, and smoothing the oversize follower to fit the Diamondback magazine tube.  The photo below shows the outcome of trying to load the top round of a magazine full of HST rounds.  Both followers cause the rims to lock on the top two rounds and force the nose of the bullet down and into the feed ramp. 

Next I tried modifying the spring.  The stock PF-9 magazine spring is too long to fit in the DB9 magazine.  That makes perfect sense when you realize the PF-9 magazine is designed to hold 7 rounds vs. the DB9 magazine with a capacity of 6 rounds.  I started trimming off coils from the PF-9 magazine spring until I could get it to fit the DB9 magazine tube.  I had to trim off two coils, which left me with a slightly longer than standard spring.  Two Diamondback standard factory springs are on the left and my modified PF-9 spring is on the right.

After installing the new spring with a stock DB9 follower, I noticed some pretty significant differences in the follower performance.  Filling up the modified magazine with HST ammo, I noticed a significant reduction/elimination of nose diving with the top round.  The HST rims didn't lock together as hard as they had previously, so the propensity to nose dive was dramatically reduced.  I'm not willing to claim victory yet, but so far it looks like the PF-9 spring that has been trimmed to fit the DB9 magazine may allow me to go back to using my HST in my DB9 again.

The improvement is subtle, but if you are experiencing this yourself, you will be able to really see the difference.  This photo shows a round of HST that failed to feed and was jammed into the feed ramp.  Notice how low the nose of the bullet sits in the magazine.
The next photo shows a modified magazine with the trimmed PF-9 magazine spring installed.  You can see the round flows down the magazine lips without nose diving.  The reason for the change is a more balanced spring pressure across the entire follower keeps the rims of the top two cartridges from a hard lock up, thereby reducing the top rounds propensity to nose dive.

I have to get out the range tomorrow and see how this new spring works under fire.  I'm pretty confident it will work.  

How ironic would it be if a Kel-Tec part ended up being a fix for a Diamondback product? 

Terminal Ballistics Testing - I'm So Stoked!!!

You would have to know me really well to fully understand why I'm so incredibly stoked this afternoon.   It all got started several months ago when I did my first testing of .380 ACP ammo.  At the time, I was focused on capturing velocity only, but I tested the same ammo in 3 different pocket pistols with various barrel lengths.  You can read all about that testing here.  Since publishing that blog entry, it's become the most looked at post out of the 50 or so I've done.  It's been visited over 6000 times so I know there's a real interest in the data.

I did receive some feedback that my data was "nice", but lacked terminal performance information.  I couldn't argue with that since I knew it was true.  Simply knowing average velocity and a calculated energy value let folks make and educated comparison of one ammo vs. another, but fell woefully short when trying to compare the terminal performance of one ammo vs. another.  I took this to heart and spent several months designing, building, testing, and destroying a series of terminal ballistics test boxes that would allow me to 'catch' fired rounds and measure their terminal performance.  My best work in this area took place last September when I was able to test 5 different 9mm loads.  You can read about that here


I finally built a ballistics box that should last for a long time.  It's been sitting in my garage just waiting for a trip to the range so I can finally test it out.  I tried to take it out last weekend, but my local range was packed on Sunday and full of groundskeepers on Monday.  It's pretty elaborate and will allow me to capture impact velocity and terminal performance from each shot.  Previously, I was capturing the velocity data as a separate step.


Earlier today I got permission to do my testing on a private range tomorrow.  Based on the weather forecast, I should have a great day for testing.  I'm locked and loaded with dozens of .380 ACP, 9mm, and even some .32 ACP ammos to test.  Can't wait!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nice Pants - For Pocket Carry

Mouse Guns and pocket carry are a natural for me.  Sure, I'll occasionally go with an IWB rig if weather dictates the need for a hoodie or more substantial jacket, but 10 months a year it's a long or short sleeve T-shirt and pants or shorts for me.  Over the years I've learned a few things about what makes a good and bad pair of carry pants.  I'd like to share some of that with you all.

If money was no object, I would have a closet full of 5.11 tactical pants, but at $50 or more per pair I don't want to make that commitment.  Sure, that seems like a reasonable price when folks have no problem shelling out $100 or more on a pair of designer jeans, but I'm not that guy.  I buy my pants at Kohl's, Walmart, or the Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger outlet stores that I visit when I'm up in NJ.  No tax on clothing up there so it's always nice to pick up a few things when I visit.  Also, some of the 5.11 stuff starts to look a bit too tactical for my tastes.  I want a comfortable pair of carry pants, but I'd prefer not to stand out from the masses like the guys and gals that wear their "photographer" vests when they are out and about.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out they probably aren't photographers and they probably have something strapped on their belts under that vest.  I'm glad that works for them, but as said before, I'd rather be less conspicuous.

It took me a little longer than it probably should have, but I finally figured out that not all pants are created equal.  You would think that something as generic as good ol' blue jeans would share some common design dimensions between brands, but I found that was not the case.  There are a few brands that are much better suited to pocket carry than others.  The primary factors are the size of the pocket pouch that you can't see from the outside of the pants, the slant of the pocket opening, and the quality of the material used to make the pocket pouch.

I've found 4 basic types of pocket openings in my wardrobe.  From top to bottom, I call them On-seam, 45 Degree, Open Top Small and Open Top Large.  There may be several other types, but this is what I had in the closet.  In general, I have found that 45 Degree or Open Top works better for me than On-Seam with most pocket holster types. 
Overall, I've found that most jeans will have similarly sized pockets.  They will vary by an inch or two in length and width so it's best to turn them inside out and really check them out before you buy.  The pair in the middle has the largest pockets.  They are the Sam's Club Members Mark brand and a great overall value.  The Levi's and Van's aren't bad, but can be problematic with some of of the larger pocket choices.

If you are a right-hander, you may want to pay attention to the rivets used on the watch pocket.  The Van's are my favorite because the watch pocket is sewn on.  The Sam's Club jeans on the right are next choice because the rivets are flush.  Last choice is the Levi's with their raised rivets they do a great job of pin striping your pistol slide with copper stripes if your holster doesn't fully cover the slide. 

I wear cargo pants and shorts frequently.  I like the option to carry in the cargo pocket or front pocket.  My favorites were Dickies Rip-stop Cargos that I was getting from Walmart until they stopped carrying them.  I found them to be super comfortable and incredibly long wearing.  Unfortunately, they are also the pair of pants with the on-seam pocket openings so the front pockets were best suited to the smaller auto pistols.  Carry in the cargo pockets was another good option since the pocket flaps secured with Velcro.  I've been on the look out for a new cargo pants option and recently tried the Wrangler Cargos available at Walmart.    The first thing I noticed was the front pockets were much larger than the Dickies.

The pants also have a small pocket sewn into the left cargo pocket.  Perfect for a spare mag or knife.  The G36 magazine just disappears while the knife rides low and secure.
 
Two of the larger pocket pistols I have are the Ruger LCR and Glock 27.  The Wrangler Cargo front pockets and the Sam's Club Members Mark Jeans front pockets are both up to the task of pocket concealment with these two larger options.  The thickness causes some printing, but is not very noticeable when wearing a hoodie or jacket.  The pockets are also deep enough that you don't run the risk of someone behind you noticing the pistol grip if your front pocket should gap open for a second.


If back pocket carry is your thing, the Wrangler cargo pants have a large flat bottom rear pocket that's a bit taller than your standard jeans pocket.  Now you see it....
Now you don't.......

I think the most important thing to remember when looking for pocket carry pants is to try the pants on.  It's no good to try this with the pants on the rack or shelf as they will change fit dramatically when you wear them. Stick your hand in the pocket you will carry in.  Now ball your hand into a fist and try to pull your hand out of the pocket.  Does it feel tight?  If so, move on to the next pants as this is how your hand will be positioned when grasping for your pocket carry pistol.

I've found that if you can find a good pair of pants that you are happy with, it's easier to adjust your pocket holster type than it is to find pants that work with a specific holster.  Open top pockets work great with most holster types, but I'm most partial to holsters with double wings like the flat bottom RKBA holster on the Glock 27.  The pistol draws straight up from this holster type so as long as the pocket opening is wide enough for the grip length, it's an easy draw.  For angled or on-seam pocket openings, I like the single wing holsters like the Remora holster on the Ruger LCR.  For pockets with angled openings, you will have to slightly rotate the pistol grip as you draw from the pocket.  The rounded wing shape makes this feel more natural.

The Remora Back Pocket Holster 2DC was a recent new acquisition for me and I find that it works really well in the Wrangler Cargos as it grips the pocket on the draw and provides a full lightly padded shield between your body and the slide.  It's a universal fit with most small autos with up to 3" barrels.  It's one of the most comfortable back pocket options I've tried.

Members Mark Jeans are available from Sam's Club for about $14.  Wrangler Cargos are available from Walmart for about $19.  One caution on the Wranger Rip-stop cargos.  They must come from a different factory because their front pockets run a shade smaller than the standard Wrangler Cargos.

If you've found other pants that work well for pocket carry, please leave the information in the comments so all of us can benefit from your experience.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crimson Trace Rail Master Install Impressions

A little over a week ago I received an email from Crimson Trace letting me know that they just released a new universal rail mount laser that will work on any rail system on pistols, rifles, and shotguns.  It looked like a good product that would definitely come in handy for my ballistics testing work so I decided to order one.  It arrived this afternoon so I spent a few minutes installing it on a Springfield XDm .45 ACP.

Opening the package, you won't be surprised by what you find if you are familiar with Crimson Trace products.  Crimson Trace always packs great easy to follow installation instructions, a pair of hex laser adjustment wrenches, 2 lens cleaning swabs, a battery, and laser warning stickers.  What was different this time was the parts kit also included 3 spare rail lock inserts with numbers 2, 3, and 4 molded into the inserts.  The laser unit is actually pretty small.  Smaller than I thought it would be, which I thought was a good thing.

Installing the laser unit is really easy.  I was surprised that Crimson Trace didn't include a screwdriver with the the laser so before you start your install, take the time to go find the right size screwdriver for the job.  If you don't find a blade that's wide and thin enough for the job, you will run the risk of the driver twisting out of the slot and ruining the screw.

Included in the installation instructions is a handy cross reference chart that guides you on which rail lock insert to use depending on the firearm you are installing the laser on.  I quick look told me that the number 2 rail lock insert was going to be the correct choice for my pistol.

Changing out the rail lock insert involves removing the rail clamp by loosening the mounting screws and sliding out rail lock insert 1 and replacing it with the right rail lock for your firearm.  The picture below shows rail insert 1 half removed to demonstrate how easy it is to swap out the rail lock inserts.

After installing the correct rail lock insert, the laser and clamp slide back together and can now be positioned on the rail lug that positions the laser in the most comfortable position for laser actuation and shooting comfort.  In my case, the closest lug to the trigger guard was too close and the 3rd lug was too far so I locked the laser on the 2nd rail lug.  The last steps include tightening down the clamping screws (easy with the correct size screw driver blade, but a challenge if your blade is too narrow), and installing the battery.  The battery compartment door is located on the bottom of the laser.  The photo below shows the battery door partially removed in preparation for battery installation.

The battery door easily slides back over the installed battery and sits in a recessed groove that will minimize and possibly eliminate the possibility of accidental battery door opening. 


The photo below shows my comfortable reach to the laser actuation switch.  The switch operates easily with just a light press on the switch required to turn on the laser.  The switch is silent in operation, but your finger can definitely feel the switch turn on and off.  I found the switch was really well done and can be operated with the trigger finger or thumb of your off-hand when holding the pistol with a two handed grip.

The laser appears to be as bright as any other Crimson Trace laser product I've used.  The dot was nice and sharp with very little corona or edge dispersion around the main dot.  The dot appeared to be quite low and needed to be adjusted up a bit when test sighting at 15 yards.  The picture below shows the laser adjustment points that are similarly located to those on other Crimson Trace lasers.

Here's the final view of the Springfield XDm .45 with the Crimson Trace Rail Master installed.  You can really see how small the laser is on this full size pistol.  It's barely as long as the rail.  I think this laser would work well on mid size and even some of the small pistols with rails.  After I have a chance to try the laser on this pistol over the weekend, I may try it on my Ruger SR-22 rifle and a few other railed pistols.  So far I think I'm going to like this laser.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

8 Months and 9 Days to 50K

Based on the current blog views and the typical daily traffic trends, Mouse Guns and Gear will cross the 50,000 views milestone at some point late tonight or early tomorrow.  I'm not sure if that's a big deal in the world of hobby blogging, but to me it feels like a big deal.  I think I've done 50 posts in the last 8 months and it's been quite a bit of work, but it's not been hard work.  I've really enjoyed doing it and have learned a bunch of stuff about taking better pictures, producing and posting videos, and several other social media skills that I never would have messed with otherwise.

I really appreciate the feedback from folks that have stopped by to read the blog.  I've even "enjoyed" the pithy comments left on some of my YouTube videos.  I guess you just have to take the good and the bad and hope it all balances out in the end.      

I've got 3 more blog pieces in various stages of development that I hope to wrap up in the next few weeks.  Followers of the blog also know that I'm supposed to be getting an early evaluation Heizer DoubleTap to review so I'm looking forward to that arriving at some point in the next few months.  I've also decided to do more pieces on ammo and ballistics testing in the future now that I've completed my ballistics box.  I really can't find much data on ammo performance from mouse guns with 2" to 3" barrels so I'd like to take that on as my testing focus.  My first dive into testing 9mm from short barrels showed me how dismal some rounds perform at mouse gun velocities.


It's taken me 4 months of testing and trial and error to get to this latest prototype.  I've blown up at least a half dozen other boxes getting to this point.  Even though it's ugly, I think I'm going to be really happy with how this new box works.  I've also invested in a second chronograph that will allow me to capture impact velocities of the captured bullets instead of measuring velocities as a separate test step.  If nothing else, it will end up saving me money on ammo since I'll be capturing both velocity and terminal performance from the same shot.

Over the last few months I've been watching a bunch of YouTube videos from TNoutdoors9.  He does a lot of neat stuff and it's been really interesting to see how his ballistics work has progressed over the years.  Back in 2011, he started using Sim Test media for his ammo testing.  I swapped a few messages with him today and decided to order my own box of Sim Test just in case I can't get the ballistics box working for me.  I hope the box helps me weed through the good vs. not so good ammo quickly so I can do a follow up test with just the Sim Test media, calibrated to ballistics gel standards, to really capture worthwhile terminal performance data.

I'd like to give a shout out to Alan and Jacqui at Remora Holsters.  You see Remora holsters in a few of my blogs because I think they are an excellent fit for my holster needs, and I use them frequently.  Alan has been more than generous to me with several freebies over the last few months.  So you can expect to see more of their holsters in future blogs like the LCR .38 vs. S&W Bodyguard .38 piece I'm working on.  Remora is also an innovative company with new stuff coming out all the time.  Keep a look out for their new Tuckable Remora holsters due to go up on their site later this week.  As soon as I buy mine, I'll be sure to post a review.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380 - Old Review and Range Report

I was contacted earlier today by a blog reader that wanted to know if I was going to review the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380.  As it turns out, I bought a Bodyguard in July 2010 and did a mini review and range report on it, but that was before I started this blog so I've gone back and reconstructed the review and range reports from my original pictures and reports.

One of the first things I wanted to check was how the Bodyguard with it's integral laser would weigh in against a Kahr P380 with an add on Crimson Trace laser.  As you can see from the two photos, the Bodyguard was about half an ounce heavier than the Kahr.  That was very acceptable considering the Bodyguard had a barrel a half inch longer than the Kahr P380.



Initial impressions from cleaning are good and bad.  Take down and reassembly was easy, but there was an odd bit that required you to pull the barrel forward to reinsert the take down pin.

I like the full length rails.  I also like the stainless frame insert to keep the slide from battering the polymer frame when the slide cycles.  I like how they have modularized the laser so it can be fussed with or not at the user's discretion.  I really like the laser lens protective bezel as a quick wipe will remove any accumulated powder soot.  Analog sights are good and highly visible.  Melonite coated Stainless slide was nice to learn about reading through the pistol documentation.  I also like that it's black.  All black. 

Hate the plastic trigger and it's mold line running down the center of the trigger.  That's gotta go if this gun is a keeper.  I like the steel guide rod, but noticed scoring from the twin recoil springs has already started.  We'll see if this gets worse after some range time.  External safety isn't well received by me, but I understand why it's there.

I could spend a bunch of time discussing machining marks and other visible signs of build quality, but I won't.  I will say the gun passed the shake test with flying colors.  When the gun is in battery (no ammo) and the mag fully inserted, there is zero rattling heard when you briskly shake the gun.  Fitting is not sloppy.

Trigger is pure 3rd generation Smith and Wesson auto.  It takes a firm press to get the hammer started and that's followed by a medium to long/smooth stacking and a clean break.  I noticed a small bit of grittiness, but hope that will smooth out with rounds down range.  In all fairness, I'm sure it's going to be fine for CQ self defense, but horrible for bullseye target shooting.  Good thing this isn't a gun for bullseye target shooting.


My thoughts after my initial range test:
Finally, a .380 done right and ready to roll right out of the box.  LCP, and Colt Mustang Pocketlite, you've met your match.

I don't want to jinx myself, because a good report today could be followed by a recall tomorrow, but I'll take my chances since a few of you want a second opinion on the ugly little kid called the Bodyguard.

I ran through half a Win White box Value Pack, a box of Golden Saber, a box + of Critical Defense, and finished up with about 35 Gold Dots.  Happy to report my results were nothing short of perfection.  It was a very Glock-like experience.  One handed, two handed didn't make a difference with function.

Iron sights and laser were close enough to point of aim at 7 and 10 yards that I didn't make any adjustments.  Trigger is still stiff, but it's workable for what this gun was designed for and the distances involved.  Accuracy with the laser was very good with the white box Winchesters.  First 7 shots had 4 touching shots clustered in a nice little clover leaf pattern.

Gold Dots were the last rounds shot since I wanted to make sure they would work even in a "dirty" gun.  I was also pretty fatigued at this point as I was working with another gun in between strings with the Bodyguard to give it time to cool.  My trigger finger was also pretty sore at this point from that confounded ridge on the plastic trigger.  This target was the last 7 shots at 10 yards.

Brought it home and cleaned it up with specific attention to my areas of concern.  As expected the stainless frame buffer showed signs of impact with the slide.  It was only powder soot and was easily removed with Eezox.  Full length rails showed signs of light burnishing on the 4 corners so they must be the high spots.  Scoring of the guide rod ended up as nothing more than some superficial scratching from the springs and not the deep gouges you get with the LCP guide rod.

I see no reason not to put this one into the carry rotation immediately aside from my personal requirement of having a couple spare mags on hand.  It's a keeper.

Follow-up Range Reports:

I increased my rounds downrange to 300'ish this afternoon.  I have done a good job keeping up with the full boxes, but I've also been running all odds and ends from partial boxes through the gun as well since it seems to eat anything you put in it.  So my count isn't exact.

Today was 50 rounds of Rem 95 grain FMJ and 50 rounds of Win White Box FMJTC.  I set up 2 targets at 10 yards.  As I was wrapping up for the day, I shot one without the laser and one with the laser.  12 rounds per target.  Used the Win White box for these since they make such a neat hole in the targets.
10 Yard Iron Sights

  10 Yard Laser Sight
 



I've made zero adjustments to the sights or laser since taking the pistol out of the box when new.  Based on the lack of any shifting of the laser over time, I have no intention of adjusting anything with the sights or laser.  This is plenty good enough performance from both sighting systems.  If anything needs adjusting, it's my shooting skills with this gun.  I did learn today that my best groups came when I just stepped up and shot each round as soon as the sights or laser were back on target.  Trying to pull up the trigger slack and then guessing when it would break was just futility with a trigger this heavy.

I did have to keep cleaning the laser's protective lens today.  If I didn't keep up with it, the laser dot got large and dim as the grime built up on the lens.  Must have been the Rem ammo because it wasn't building up so fast last time.  The good news is that the actual laser lens sits behind a protective cover that was easily cleaned with some spit and my pinkie.  No need for a swab and alcohol.

I'm pleased with the laser ad iron sight systems.  I have had zero issues with failures of any kind.  I'm adding this to the carry rotation with high confidence.

Current Update:

Several months later, I decided to trade off the Bodyguard.  The only problem I ever had with it was with the laser activation buttons popping out when drawing the gun from a pocket holster.  I had been accumulating 380 pistols like crazy in 2010 and could no longer justify having so many.  Over many months I learned to love the trigger on the Kahr P380 so the Ruger LCP and Smith and Wesson Bodyguard were both traded off as they both shared similar trigger pulls and weights.  I will say that the LCP and Bodyguard were both highly reliable.

Friday, February 3, 2012

C.O.P. Copper Only Projectiles .380 Ammo Update

Last month I reviewed a new .380 ACP ammo from Rare Ammo.  The details of the review can be found here.  Link to Blog Review

Last week I decided to contact Rare Ammo and share my findings with them and give them the chance to respond to the low velocity and poor terminal performance I experienced during my evaluation.  It's been a full week now and I have not heard back from them.  I found this somewhat surprising as their website asks for feedback and questions about their products. 

Based on my results and their lack of response (customer service), I'm giving this ammo my first ever big thumb down.  It's pretty obvious that they could care less about customer feedback and that's just inexcusable for a new product.