When I am not doing my main job of teaching and writing, I spend a lot of time around the game of tennis. I have a small business as a tennis racquet technician, meaning I string, repair, and customize tennis rackets on the side. It is a sort of hobby gone out of control; last year I personally strung almost 1,500 rackets.
Ironically, the more time I spend around the game of tennis, the less time I spend playing tennis. It is a sort of occupational hazard, not unlike being a teaching professional in golf. I know many people who became PGA professionals because they thought they would spend all of their time golfing, when in reality they spend all of their time around golf and very little time golfing.
What does this have to do with guns? Well, I have found that the more time I spend around gun culture, the less time I spend shooting guns.
When I stepped into the Mobile Tactics trailer inside the Georgia International Convention Center at the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Expo a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I hadn’t shot a gun all year. In fact, I couldn’t really remember the last time I shot.
I don’t know who said it first, but as many in the firearms training community have repeated, shooting is a perishable skill.
So, it probably wasn’t the best decision to shoot two handguns I had never even held before. But my curiosity blinded me from the potential problems of that choice.
Of the seven manufacturers who made guns available to shoot, I had shot or own guns from five of them: FN, Glock, Kahr, Springfield Armory, and Walther. So, I decided I would try guns from Bond Arms and Heizer Defense.
My first time through the Mobile Tactics range I shot the Heizer Defense PKO Pocket 45 – advertised as the world’s thinnest 45 at 0.80” wide. It was introduced to the public at the Concealed Carry Expo so it was cool to be one of the first to try the gun.
It is indeed thin. In fact, the grip was so thin and short (with the flush mounted magazine) and the stainless steel frame/grip so smooth that I could not get a handle on the gun. With 5 rounds loaded in the gun, I had stove pipes on my first three shots.
Of course, there is a big part of this that is simply shooter error, because one of the RSOs shot the fourth round and the gun cycled completely with no problem. My lack of time behind the trigger and unfamiliarity with the gun made it unsuitable for me at the time. I’m looking forward to giving it another shot after I get some more work in at the range.
My second time through the range I shot one of the Bond Arms 9mm derringers (which can also shoot .45 with a barrel change). I’ve always thought the Bond Arms derringers are really cool looking, if impractical for my purposes. So I jumped at the opportunity to shoot it.
I struggled again on the firing line, though. This time it was because with my typical two thumbs forward grip, the thumb on my left (dominant) hand kept engaging the safety. I had to change to a thumb down, revolver style grip, and once I did was able to shoot the derringer with no problems. As with the Heizer PKO-45, I’m looking forward to the chance to shoot the Bond Arms derringers more in the future, after I bring my skill level back up to a more reasonable level.
Just as a point of information, mid-day Sunday, the third day of the Expo, I stopped by each manufacturer’s table to ask which model was getting the most action. They reported the following:
- Heizer Defense: PKO-45 – newly introduced to the public at this show!
- Bond Arms: 70% shooting the Bullpup XR 9-5, the Boberg acquired by Bond Arms. Attributed to interest in concealed carry and the very soft recoil spring (which looks like a longer version of what I have in some of my retractable point pens).
- Walther: PPS-M2 was most popular because it was just launched and the CCP for its soft recoil.
- Springfield Armory: The 4” EMP because it is a new model.
- Kahr: The CW3833 and the CW9093, lower cost versions of Kahr’s well-known concealed carry handguns.
- Glock: G19 and G43 – concealed carry classics, old and new.
- FN: Most were shooting the FNX-45 Tactical because it was very different than a lot of the guns other manufacturers were showing (smaller guns). The FNS-9C also displayed was too much like other models (9mm concealed pistol). Sunday they broke out the legendary Five-Seven pistol – they held it back because they didn’t want to run out of ammo.