...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

September 15, 2005

New Gun Nut Progress Report III

Here's the next in my series of novice gun reviews. This post should be subtitled "Teutonic Target Shooting, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

progress report

My quest for the perfect handgun to purchase started out with the 9mm Sig Sauer P226. i think you all remember how crazy i was for that gun. i'm glad it was the first pistol i ever fired because it has become the benchmark by which all others are measured. In fact Sig Sauer has reinforced my long-standing preference for Teutonic engineering. So i figured, as long as i'm test driving guns, i should check out all the German makes i can get my hands on.

The Sig's reputation for Swiss precision was not exagerrated, in my opinion. It was accurate, reliable and ergonomically pleasing. i fired three different Sigs at three different ranges and i was never dissatisfied. The gun never jammed and it always gave me tight patterns on the target.

My only problem with the Sig's design was its lack of any external safety. It seems those crazy Germans think that Sig owners should know better than to rely on a safety. Read the following sentence with a Sigfried accent: Vat vould you need zeh safety for? Eet Ees qvite zimple. Eef vun does not vont zeh gun to fire, vun does not pull zeh trigger.

The Sig does have a nifty de-cocking lever, which is a sort of safety. It allows you to lower a cocked hammer without the gun going off. Also, the first trigger pull is very stiff when the hammer is uncocked. That acts as an additional sort of safety, and i have decided that whatever gun i purchase should have that feature.

i know that no safety is 100% reliable. But i'm still not comfortable with the idea of owning a gun that does not have an external lever that i can switch on to give myself that added peace of mind. But i loved the Sig so much that i figured i might have to compromise and live without a safety lever.

Interestingly, there is another manufacturer whose motto happens to be "No Compromise." But i'm getting to that.

If the Sig is "The Good," in the above mentioned subtitle, then i would have to say that the famous Glock 17 is "The Bad." How can i put it nicely? This gun sucked. i was prepared not to like the Glock, because my first introduction to it was a post by Publicola about the LAPD's decision to allow officers to start carrying the Glock 22. Publicola alerted me to the Austrian gun's unfortunate, albeit rare tendency to blow up when shooting higher powered cartridges.

Additional research led me to another post, at Says Uncle, about an unusual ailment that sometimes afflicts police officers called "Glock-leg." And if that wasn't enough, the first time i saw a guy shoot a Glock at the range, i was surprised to see the ejected cartridges hitting him square in the forehead. You'd think Glock would have fixed that problem. Maybe that's why those gang bangers shoot the thing sideways. (When i fired it, one of the hot cartridges got stuck between my safety goggles and my face!)

iconglock.jpgi felt i couldn't do a thorough job of pistol shopping if i didn't try a Glock at least once. So i rented the Glock 17, which is their 9mm pistol. i didn't want to try it in my favorite caliber, .40 S&W, because of the whole exploding Glock thing. From the start i didn't like it.

The first thing that struck me was the overall cheapness of the materials. It's plastic, sure, but it feels like the kind of lightweight plastic that toys are made out of. The famous Glock trigger safety that i'd heard so much about turned out not to be sophisticated at all. It's simply a plastic lever that prevents the trigger from being pulled back unless you actually pull back on the trigger. Doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to me.

The Glock has no external safety lever and it's "double action only," which i hate. That means it doesn't have a hard trigger pull on the first shot, like the Sig, and you can't cock or uncock the gun for single action shooting since it doesn't have an external hammer. It's basically point and shoot, no nonsense.

Ergonomically, it never felt good either. My finger didn't feel right on the trigger, like the gun was at the wrong angle for my hand. i like to pull the trigger with the first joint of my index finger, but on the Glock, it felt more natural to pull the trigger with my fingertip. And the trigger pull itself was way too light, which i can't believe is very safe.

Accuracy at 25 yards was off. My theory is that the Glock was too light. i think i pulled my shots to the left because i concentrated on holding the gun steady through the recoil. i don't think the gun is inherently inaccurate because my patterns at 7 yards were very nice. Sightwise, i'm not impressed either. It uses a vertical two dot system that i found difficult to visualize consistently.

Needless to say, the Glock did not make my shopping list. i'm sure it's a fine and reliable gun for military and police use, but it's not for me.

iconusp.jpgLike Goldilocks, i found the third gun in my Teutonic trifecta just right. i'm talking about the Heckler & Koch Universale Selbstladepistole. Matt thinks this gun is ugly, but it met all of my requirements in a pistol. It has an external safety and decocking lever. It's traditional double action. It looks like it's well made, as i'd expect a German product to be. It's incredibly accurate at 25 yards. It has the three dot sight i prefer. It never jammed. It looks mean. It's very comfortable to hold. And it's light, but not too light.

But that's not all. The H&K also surpassed my requirements in a couple of areas. There's some sort of patented anti-recoil thingamabob built into it, which noticeably reduced the recoil of the .40 S&W version i fired, making it feel more like a 9mm. And although the frame is plastic, it's a tough thick polymer that feels solid compared to the Glock. And the external safety works the same way as a 1911's so i won't have to relearn the action if i ever buy a .45.

i shot a hundred rounds through the USP, and those were my best targets ever. i think the difference was the combination of the light weight* and the anti-recoil thingamajig. i found that i could hold the pistol steadier for a longer time. It's amazing the confidence you can get when you fire a quality firearm. It makes you want to practice more.

Look at the picture. Mind you, i'd never shot a pistol before August 13, 2005.

A is all head shots at 25 yards, indoors.

B is five shots at 25 yards aiming for the masking tape. It's about a 2.5 inch grouping.

C is the first shot in that five shot grouping at 25 yards. Imagine my surprise: when i aimed at it, i hit it!

D is the rest of the 50 round box, mostly at 15 yards, and about ten of them at 7 yards. One magazine of ten rounds was shot at 15 yards without wearing my prescription glasses because i decided i should practice without them a little. Those were the outlying holes, but as you can see, only one in the 8 ring.

That's why i love the H&K. It's my new favorite. i will continue to sample other autoloaders, but the Universale Selbstladepistole is now the one to beat, in my book.

Now if i can only find a range that rents Walthers, i can complete a Teutonic grand slam!

* Without their clips, the Sig Sauer P226 weighs 28.3 ounces, the H&K USP is 27.9 ounces, and the Glock is 21.2 ounces.

Posted by annika, Sep. 15, 2005 | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: New Gun Nut Stuff


Am I the only one who finds hot, young, conservative women waxing eloquently about German handguns arousing?

Posted by: Robbie on Sep. 15, 2005

Well I'm glad you at least gave the Glock a try. Now you know why people either love them or hate them. In the Auto Dept. as far as I'm concerned you aren't going to find a better gun than an H&K. I have shot thousands of rounds through them and I love them. They might be ugly but they are the best thing going in the semi-auto. Plus they also make my favorite CQB weapon which is the MP-5. If you ever get a chance to play with an MP-5 just for fun don't pass it up as they are a blast to shoot. So will you be trying any revolvers or is your heart set on an auto?

Posted by: Andy on Sep. 15, 2005

I have shot all three guns and swear by the Glock. The biggest reason is its simplicity. If you draw a gun from a holster and need to shoot someone you don't want to mess with an external safety. The fine motor movements needed to disengage it will be exceedingly difficult under stress. I also like the fact that I've shot over 5,000 rounds through it with only one or two malfunctions. I used to own a ParaOrdnance 1911 that probably had 1 every 200 rounds.

I don't like the HK which is otherwise a fine gun, because if you've shot 1911s you are trained to ride the safety. Meaning, you draw from the holster with thumb on safety. You push down on safety when your eyes are on the sight and the barrel is pointed downrange. If you keep your thumb on safety--which is simplest and the typical 1911 style of shooting--then as you shoot if you push down on HK USP safety you'll tend to engage decock. If you pull trigger when decock is engaged, the gun won't shoot. You'll think you had a failure to fire so you'll "tap rack bang;" at that point, you'll be losing confidence in gun, especially if it happens again.

Great shooting Annika. The key for someone with basic safety and marksmanship down is transitioning from the "square range" mentality to combat shooting. In other words, investing in software (your skills) and not just hardware. I strongly recommend Scotty Reitz in the LA area for his pistol course. He's LAPD SWAT and has a great course; I took his precision rifle course a few years ago and loved it.

Posted by: Roach on Sep. 15, 2005

"It's plastic, sure, but it feels like the kind of lightweight plastic that toys are made out of."

Light is good if you are carrying it all day.

"It's basically point and shoot, no nonsense."

Which in a stressful situation is a good thing. If you have to remember if you gun is cocked or uncochked, safty on or off when you want to use it, that could take vauable time.

"And the trigger pull itself was way too light, which i can't believe is very safe"

You can get a heavier trigger, which many do. It is called a New York Trigger.

I know you have ruled out glock, but I still want to highlight why in some cases they things you don't like can be fixed or they are good things.

Also, several of the things you don't like about the glock are fixed in the spring field XD. It has a fully supported chamber. It has the 1911 grip angle (the USP does also). It is a little heavier than the glock. Though it still has the DOA action, but it does have a grip saftly.

As a side note, check out the price of the HK. It is an excellent handgun, but you also pay for the priviledge of owning one. Another thing about HK is that their customer service is not all that great (from stories I have heard), unless you are a police department or miltary department.

That basiclly stems from the fact that in Europe their is no civillian gun market, but in America there is. So many european comapnies end up getting miltary contracts (IE HK and SIG picked up the DHS contract a year ago.)

Posted by: cube on Sep. 15, 2005

Yes, Roach, but the HK can be configured by the user without the de-cocking lever if that is a concern.

Posted by: annika on Sep. 15, 2005

That's the way to go with HK; either DAO or SAO style or DA/SA without decock (don't know if that last one's available).

I also found ergonomics on it were weird, because when you pushed gun in front of you front sight pushed was low and you had to pull it up. Glock's high, but I'd rather see sight and align it that not see it and try to find it. But that's probably a matter of hand ergonomics that is neither here nor there.

All three of these guns are good guns, but I urge you to run them through different drills besides square range drills to see which one you like. Consider how you'll use it, whether you'll carry, how easy is it to work controls under stress, how well does it shoot fast, how well does it shoot in low light etc.

Plus get yourself a G2 Nitrolon by Surefire to go with any home defense gun.

Posted by: Roach on Sep. 15, 2005

Was ist mit dir los? Hast du Walter vergessen? Meine P-5 ist prima. Sie ist schnittig und zuverlässig. Wenn sie ladete ist, ist sie ganz sicher. Aber sie fast nur neun Patrone. Ich eige zwei Sig Pistolen und sie sind auch sehr gut. Aber du sollst eine P-5 oder P-5C ausprobieren.
Verstehst du mein schrechlich Deutsch?

Posted by: Jasen on Sep. 15, 2005

WHAT! Outrage! No snarky comments on Brittny & Kevin's demon offspring?

Posted by: Victor on Sep. 15, 2005

Well, annie, I won't try to dissuade you. Guns are like wome. . . er, the opposite sex: There's no accounting for taste.

To be fair, though, I did say the H&K has good ergonomics, and I certainly have no beef with its accuracy. (In general, though, accuracy and reliability are inversely related. E.g., the AK is noted for its reliability, but its accuracy is mediocre. Eugene Stoner's brainchild is an inherently accurate design, but not noted for going bang each time the trigger is pulled.)

I very much doubt you'll find any Walther that you prefer to the H&K, if that's your cup of tea. For one thing, I don't think any of their current production full-sized pistols have external safeties. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to think of any DAO pistol that has a true external safety, other than (some configurations of) the H&K. (I assume you want DAO, not DA/SA? It's not completely clear from your post, but I really don't like mixing the two and I find it hard to imagine why anyone else would want to do so.) It's a shame; there are some great pistols out there that you're missing by insisting on an external safety and, apparently, DAO. Heck, you're excluding essentially the entire universe of revolvers! What would Harry Callahan say?

On the other hand, if you do decide to go with the USP perhaps you'll be inspired to dress up like a blonde Lara Croft and have some pics taken -- pics that you'll then post here, naturally. (For the sake of the single guys, of course.)

P.S.: I never get hit by ejected cases from my Glock. The precise direction that cases eject varies from individual pistol to individual pistol.

Posted by: Matt on Sep. 15, 2005

"it’s a good case for keeping your booger-hook off the bang-switch" lol

I admire H&K engineering. I don't know anything about their pistols, but their rifles are incredible. I used to have an H&K 91, what a weapon. Too fucking heavy to carry around unless you're Ahnold. The great thing about H&K is that they create a superior basic design, and then carry it through their entire series. Learn one weapon, you know the entire series.

Posted by: Casca on Sep. 15, 2005

One problem with DA/SA guns is that you have two different weighted trigger pulls, such that your first and second shots may go in very different places and your muscle memory on the trigger will be very different. One other advantage to glocks. I went through multiple 1911s an HK and a few other guns before settling on the Glock.

Posted by: Roach on Sep. 15, 2005

I gotta admit, I never saw the beef with the traditonal DA/Sa that most folks do. Way I see thing is that if you need to draw & fire in a hurry your trget is going ot be close enough where it won't matter much if your first shot is a few inches away from your second. If the target is far enough away where you have to be a little more deliberate with your aim, then cocking the pistol shouldn't be that much of an issue, or hauling ass to some cover while you do so for that matter.

A DAO - I always thought it was yet another great solution in search of a real problem. The same could be said of the traditonal DA/SA but I think if it applies to the latter then it applies to the former by a factor of 3.

Maybe it's just the way i was raised, but having an external safety never presented much of a problem for me. Flip it down on the draw then move the thumb below it. More motions than not messing with a safety at all, but for SA pistols it never seemed that much of a chore. I have a DA/Sa with a decocker & never ever had an unintentional decocking while shooting, even doing rapid fire drills. Again, could just be the way I was raised, but I don't see an eternal safety or a decocker as much of an issue.

I didn't know you spoke french. :D (& yes; I still remember the chambering you wanted to have a Garand built in. Heretic. lol)

I think the young lady wants a traditonal DA/SA. I thought I recalled her not being enamored with the DAO things.

& on behalf of single guys I appreciate the attempt to get her to post more pics. Alas, methinks the young lady is too modest.

To each his/her own but I still don't see what the big deal is in transitioning from DA to SA in a pistol. If it is that big of a deal then a SA would be a better choice. Usually you get a lighter, crisper trigger pull. You'd have an eternal safety to deal with, but seeing as how miss Annika wants one of those I don't see it as much of an issue at all.

& the gentleman you recommend from the LAPD SWAT team - you wouldn't know if he was part of the group of that august body that wanted the .50 BMG banned for civilians would ya?

Nope you're not alone. But to be fair you'd aks the same question if the subject was creamy pasta. :P

Miss Annika,
As enthusiastic as you seem to be about handguns I can't wait till you start trying out rifles. :P

& I second (or perhaps third) the call for more pics of the reviewer with the reviewees. But lost causes are a habit of mine.

CZ or EAA Witness. Try one of those next. Along with a Browning Hi Power. & a Beretta 92 (9mm)or 96 (.40 S&W/.357 SIG) or its Taurus equivilent (PT-92 or PT-100 repsectively) should be on your list as well (the main difference is the Taurus has its safety on the frame rather than on the slide, so it's more like a 1911 safety than a Walther safety). & give the .357 SIG cartridge a try. More expensive ammo but you might dig it. It's like a souped up 9mm more or less & is supposed to try to duplicate the .357 magnum's stopping power in an auto. Never set one off myself but always heard they were interesting to try out. Plus in theory the bottlenecked case of the .357 SIG is less prone to feeding errors than a straight walled case like the 9mm or .40 S&W has.

& did I second (or third) the motion for more pics? :P

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 15, 2005

i'd post pictures, but since my range is a nudist range, they don't allow cameras, so sorry.

; )

Posted by: annika on Sep. 15, 2005

Sketches then? A nice chalk? At least stick figures? We're really not that picky. :P

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 15, 2005

"my range is a nudist range" ... what's the address again?

Posted by: mike on Sep. 15, 2005

Nobody'll believe it, but back in the old days three or four years ago, Anni had a stack of skin pics around here. I of course had the good judgment to save local copies of these. I particularly like those from the Jamaican vacation, mwahahahaa.

Posted by: Casca on Sep. 15, 2005

Well, Annie, if Publicola's right about your wanting a DA/SA pistol, then you probably should try the Beretta. That said, I personally think the Beretta is a GIGANTIC FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT THAT COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN DESIGNED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T WON A REAL WAR IN 2000 YEARS. In case it's not clear, I really, really, really, REALLY don't like the Beretta (or its clones). At all.

I'm not just some old fart who's bitter about the decision to phase out The Greatest Pistol Ever Made -- you know, the one that single-handedly won two world wars, would vaporize a man's torso with one near miss, and in a pinch could serve as a not-half-bad anti-ballistic missile system. (Don't take my sarcasm the wrong way: I love the 1911. Some folks just tend to get carried away.) No, my animosity is born of intimate familiarity.

I trained on the Beretta at The Basic School (and fired the highest pistol score in my class), carried it for seven years (three of which involved really carrying, Condition One in a shoulder holster, on a very regular basis), qualified expert with it seven times, supervised the training of literally hundreds of Marines with it, and later supervised an armory responsible for maintaining about a hundred of the infernal things.

My distaste for the pistol arises from several factors, but the most egregious is the tendency of the locking block to crack when you need it, which puts the pistol down hard. (It usually won't even cycle once the block has cracked. Occasionally it will, though I wouldn't be keen on firing one that way.) It happened in 5 of the first 6 Berettas and Beretta clones that I ever fired, and the fun didn't stop there. When I was a platoon commander in a security force company our locking block breakage rate on any given trip to the range was rarely less than 10%, sometimes close to 20%. Admittedly, those guns got used harder than most are; nevertheless, I've never seen any pistol in which mechanical failure was so frequent or predictable.

Beretta supposedly has redesigned the locking block to correct this problem. Yeah. And monkeys might fly out my butt. Screw me once, shame on you; screw me twice, shame on me; screw me dozens of times and you've made an enemy for life. Nothing anyone can say will ever persuade me to give the Beretta 92, or any of its clones or variants, another chance. I wouldn't allow one to defile my gunsafe by its presence if it were free. In fact, before I die I hope to travel to Italy again, this time for the express purpose of personally pissing on Bartolomeo Beretta's grave. This is the heir to the 1911? For that, may God have mercy on Ronnie Reagan's soul.

That said, I'll at least give the Beretta defenders this much: It's quite accurate, and easy to shoot even though I really don't like the DA/SA transition. The grip's a bit oversized IMHO, but it's just a 9x19 and darn near as heavy as a GI .45 (maybe heavier, when both are fully loaded) so it doesn't really present a control problem. Not than any 9x19 ever really does.

I certainly concur with the recommendation to try a CZ, and a BHP (though I was under the impression that you'd already tried one of the latter). I'd strongly recommend giving a Kahr a whirl, but I don't think Kahr makes a pistol with an external safety.


As to whether external safeties and DA/SA actions are big deals, it really all depends on the individual. The negatives can be trained around pretty well (not perfectly), as can just about anything. It largely depends on how much and how realistically one trains, and how well one handles stress. For the average person who doesn't train regularly, whose training doesn't involve any significant amount of stress, or who just doesn't respond well to stress even after lots of training, either one can cause problems. But even so, a person might reasonably conclude that, for him, the probability of problems due to a DA/SA action or an external safety is smaller than the probability of problems due to the lack thereof. (E.g., if you don't train much you may have problems keeping your finger off the trigger at inappropriate times, especially while under stress. This really is a prerequisite for using a pistol without an external safety. Heck, I've known people who were very well trained who've had "accidents" with Glocks.) And he might be right, just as another guy might be right to decide the opposite. As you say, to each his own.

Posted by: ```````` on Sep. 15, 2005

I don't know how my name became ```````` in that last post but, just for the record, ```````` is me.

Posted by: Matt on Sep. 15, 2005

Dear ```````` (if that is indeed your real name)

I've heard that about berettas (not beretta copies) & I'll be the frt to admit the pistol design isn't perfect. The grip is a bit wider than it perhaps should be; the trigger out of the box is not great (at least on Taurus' copies); The repetability of the slide/barrel connection isn't great (which means neither is the accuracy) & lastly it has a damned aluminum frame.

Look, sya whatever you wish about aluminum being good enough for frames. That's cool. My contention is the weight. We're talking about a pistol with a 5" barrel (Taurus - the Beretta has a 4.9" barrel) . I ain't gonna be tucking this in th old ankle holster whilst I jog around the park. I'd have much prefered a steel frame just to add a few ounces to help soak up some recoil & make me feel a little better about testing my handloads in it. Beretta does have a steel framed version they came out with last year (IIRC) & it'd be cool if Taurus did likewise.

But the locking block - from what I recall it seemed to be a metalurgy problem rather than an engineering one. But I'm not as up on that as I should be.

& don't go urinating on P. Beretta's gravestone just yet. Before you do that I must remind you of the BM-59. you kno - the rifle that should have been G.I when they erroneously decided the Garand wasn't up to snuff (heretics - all of them!). Want to piss on someone's grave? Find the idiot in the JCS who figured that since the AF was doing fine with that mickey mouse looking poodle shooting french-designed-gas-systemed carbine that the boys ont he front line would be fine with it to. :P

But lemme see... Marine, 1911 fan, throws in italics & other coding (presumably by hand) to stress points about why a handgun is or isn't cool, capitalizes glock like it's a proper name instead of a design fostered upon some folks by a P.T. Barnum wannabe from Georgia who had to have his product made in Austria (what was that about a country not winning a real war...*), & partial offers a refute to some of his own opinions...hmmm...If I didn't know better I'd say that reminds me a bit of a guy I know from some of the blogs. Now which one was it... :D

Oh, & Miss Annika tried a BDM if I recall. Not quite a Hi Power.

* sorry - had to slip that in there.

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 15, 2005

Since the 1911 is finally getting some of the respect it deserves, allow me to make the case. It's simple and safe in competent hands. Seven rounds to hit what's in front of you, and if he's survived that you can literally club him to death with it.

It was a travesty when we bought that plastic piece of shit from the eyeties, but they were NATO allies and it was a bone.

Posted by: Casca on Sep. 15, 2005

In my experience, the locking block problem extends to Tauruses as well. I don't think it's a matter of metallurgy; it seems to be (or, allegedly, to have been) a matter of geometry.

I actually consider the Beretta surprisingly accurate, all things considered. (It's every bit as accurate as a GI .45, and then some.) I've long thought that a tapered collar threaded onto the end of the barrel to act as a bushing could make it better -- heck, you could even port it, if you're into that -- but it's really not necessary for practical purposes. Accuracy isn't the problem.

I freely admit that Beretta has made lots of good guns. The 38/42, the Model 12, a variety of shotguns and, yes, the BM-59 were/are all good. Even their pocket pistols aren't bad, as pocket pistols go. And that's to say nothing of Franchi and Benelli, both of which Beretta owns. But none of it -- NONE OF IT, I say -- redeems the colossal clusterfuck that is the Model 92/M9. Bartolomeo will pay. (I don't actually know who Pietro is. As far as I know, Bartolomeo is the first Beretta known to have been in the gunmaking business. I presume Pietro was one of his descendants, who founded the corporation we know today.)

You do realize, of course, that Gaston Glock is an Austrian, and that they started making Glocks in Georgia only after they'd already been making them in Austria for some time?

"partial offers a refute to some of his own opinions..."

I did no such thing. I said it sucks, and it does. I just don't think it sucks in every way.

Posted by: Matt on Sep. 15, 2005

Actually I thought gaston was from Georgia but had his design made overseas. Then again I never really paid much attention to glock as I'm not a member of his fan club.

& for some reason I thought Pietro was the first, but you are correct in that Bart started the whole thing & one of the Pietro's took the company into the modern manufacturing age.

& I'd be interested to know more about the geometry problems, & most importantly when they did a redesign - if you happen to have some info handy.

& I did hear back in the 90's that the Army Marksmanship Unit did have some sort of conelike barrel they used to make the M9's lock up more consistently. Can't recall if it was something they added onto existing barrels or if it was a specially made tube.

& I wonder if miss Annika realized the kind of comments sections she'd have whenever she mentioned the word "gun" in one of her posts? :P I mean the discussions of likes & dislikes of certain models, designers, engineering, etc... was pretty much a given. But did she know we'd be asking for pics (or sketches, or chalks, or at least stick drawings - we're really not that picky) of her with the guns? :D

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 16, 2005

The locking block problem has unfortunately seems to have been fairly well hushed-up/minimized, so I don't know many details about the cause or the exact measures taken to fix it. I say that I think it was a geometry (design) problem because (1) it also happened with Tauruses, and I suspect Taurus wasn't using Beretta's steel to make its pistols and (2) references to a fix refer to "redesign" of the block. The only sources I've found that mentioned the problem have been quite vague as to its cause, and have always hastily concluded that it's all fixed and everything's OK now. See above for my response to that.

Probably the simplest form of research would be to buy a new locking block and compare it to an old one (if you could find one). But I'll leave that to people who actually care. The 92 is dead to me.

Posted by: Matt on Sep. 16, 2005

I absolutely love my H&K USP Compact .45 with only one caveat. The damn mags are $50+. With enough mags to feel comfortable, I spent the price of a new Taurus Millenium.

Other readers have commented that you should try the Springfield XD and I second that. I carry the H&K in the winter when I have plenty of clothes to cover it (the gun being fairly chunky), but in the summer I carry the XD40 Compact for the smaller silhouette. The XD is almost as nice as the H&K but with an easier take down to clean and a much lower price.

Posted by: Brass on Sep. 16, 2005

Now that I own a Garand, I contend that I never said anything about rechambering a Garand..... I swear it....... I was talking about a MAS 49/56...you misread....or perhaps you're projecting your twisted chamber preferences on me... you've got a Garand chambered in .35 Whelen don't ya or maybe a 25-06 hidden in the back of the closet.(lol)
BTW where can I reference SN's for the old girl, she's a bit of a Frankenrifle, but I'd like to know where she's been at least in part.

Posted by: Jasen on Sep. 16, 2005

I used to know of a site that gave as much info as could be found (what unit a rifle was assigned to - at most) but alas I can't recall the url. There is a site that wil give you a date for the SN. I'll dig it up & try to e-mail it to ya.

& yes, you clearly said, "-But hey since we're dreaming could I have a Garand chambered for 5.56x45mm. **Jasen exits swiftly, as he hears Publicola fumbling for a clip for his Garand and mumbling," insolent,good fer nothin'heretic"**"

& for the record I'm not a purist; a Garand in damn near any '06 or .308 Win case based chambering is alright. Even did some digging once for the cost of barreling a Garand in 7x57 (just for the helluvit as Mr. du Toit always liked that cartridge). But you will not that even the .243 Winchester (which a Garand could be chambered for) willl take down a deer, unlike the cartridge-that-shall-not-be-named.

Matter o' fact there's a fella up in Washington state (IIRC) named McCann who outfits Garands in .338 Win Mag. & people said Garands wouldn't make decent African plains rifles. heh.

I appreciate the info. & I understand how ya feel. But just so ya know it could be worse, here's a Handgun Club of America article on the Ten Worst Handguns in History. I can't say my list would be the same but they do bring out some good (err, bad) points.

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 16, 2005

A long time ago, I found myself in Kangneung, a city on the northeast coast of South Korea, when I walked by a large tank filled with live octopi. Gripped by a sudden urge, I leaped over to the tank, grabbed an octopus, aimed it at some plastic jugs about fifty yards away, and blasted every single jug on the first try-- all without ever having had prior training at firing octopi.

The next day I went back and started experimenting with other sea creatures, and finally settled on the Korean "nakji" (dwarf octopus) and "ojing-aw" (squid) as my arms of choice. Since then, I've taken courses run by some ex-Special Forces guys, and now consistently rate "Kickass" with both molluscs.

After about 500 rounds, the nakji tends to heat up and stiffen, which can affect accuracy, but also makes for a tasty meal. (I don't recommend eating your firearm in the middle of a firefight, though.)

The ojing-aw is fantastic for long-range kills: I took the head off a dog at about 500 yards (soup's on!). The ojing-aw's main problem (aside from the stench, which only worsens over time) is the frequent jamming. Keep your ojing-aw clean and well-inked, and it'll serve your assassination needs for a long time.

Nakji, unfortunately, carry a bit too much ink, so after you buy one, you have to field-strip it, remove the ink sac, and reassemble it. I've had no problems with this approach.

I've heard that the Italian calamari is, like the Beretta mentioned by other commenters above, pretty accurate, though I've also heard that it tends to wriggle a bit too much in your grip. Women agree that calamari do make better condoms than ojing-aw, though ("Fluked for Her Pleasure").

The coolest thing about the nakji is that the tentacles wrap securely around your ankle, making the dwarf octopus the perfect concealed weapon. For men, the nakji can be worn like a fanny pack and disguised to look rather convincingly like a scrotum.

Try not to load your nakji with .50 caliber rounds, however; I've heard scary stories about some truly messy misfires.

In a pinch, most molluscs also serve as decent surrogates for tonfa, kusarigamma, and the Chinese three-section staff. One of Bruce Lee's lesser-known pre-Hollywood works, "Damn You, I'll Sprain Your Soul," shows the Little Dragon defeating an entire gang of Japanese thugs with a lightning-quick Nine-Tentacle Technique.


Posted by: Kevin Kim on Sep. 17, 2005


Dude, you just ain't right.

I read somewhere that ojing-aw/calamari enjoys great popularity as a stand-alone sex toy when used whole and alive. Any comments?

Posted by: Matt on Sep. 17, 2005

I have the H&K USP in .40 S&W and I love it. Incredibly accurate. Thanks for explaining why the recoil is so light...that ''thingamabob''.

Posted by: Rhythm Master on Sep. 17, 2005


What am I supposed to say? You asking me whether I've jammed a live octopus up my urethra?

SHIT, no, I haven't.

But thanks for the idea. My weekend now has a fuckin' PURPOSE.


Posted by: Kevin Kim on Sep. 17, 2005

Well, if you're in Korea and looking to have sex, at least the Octopussy doesn't smell like Kimchae.

Posted by: Casca on Sep. 17, 2005

Nice range report. Did you send it into the Carnival of Cordite? (See Ferdy's Carnival submission page over at Conservative Cat.)

Posted by: Zendo Deb on Sep. 17, 2005

I've been ignoring this posting because I am but a simple soul. When I fire my weapon, I expect it to be at about 7 to 10 years maximum.

I have a simple Glock 9MM. It has high power, hollow nose slugs that will stop whatever I hit.

(Chesty Puller said "You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em")

But Kevin, you need to take your meds.

Casca, everything in Korea smells like kimche.

Posted by: shelly on Sep. 18, 2005

Nah, you need to cleanse your senses with Soju. In truth, Korean women are lovely enough to be forgiven the halotocular stench of garlic.

Posted by: Casca on Sep. 18, 2005

Someone is conspicuously silent. However, next week is the first real team, someone other than the Little Sisters of the Poor. I can't wait to see the prophylactics take a stab at the Beavers.

Posted by: Casca on Sep. 18, 2005

I had to leave at halftime last night to take my grandson home, did USC pull it out? I was curious to hear how the Numero Uno Offense in the nation did against the untested USC Defense.

If you are talking abbut the Rubber Duckies, I'd guess that USC will be about a 21 1/2 point favorite. Morning line out tomorrow afternoon sometime.

Does Cal play anybody challenging before USC? UCLA might give them a game, come to think of it. They ate Oklahoma's lunch yesterday as well.

Oklahomans will not be talking about the wimps in the PAC 10 any time soon. Methinks they've had enough of Southern California football for a while.

Posted by: shelly on Sep. 18, 2005

You get some of the strangest comments here.... :-)

I'm glad you found something you like and can shoot well. You'd better watch out, though, as guns tend to be highly addictive. If you like HKs, the next thing you know you're going to be toting an HK-91 and hanging out on the corner with a sign that says "Will work for ammo".

Posted by: Bill on Sep. 19, 2005

Vanderbilt? VANDERBILT?? It's like beating small girls! Ah yes the Rubbers Vs Ducks match. We shall see. It's hard to judge a team when they're playing others who are inferior to their own seconds. I'm sure they're heavily favored, but they're a tough bunch up there, and as we all know, when it rains the wheels fall off the chariot in the mud.

I recall when the mighty Hurricanes were invincible just three short years ago. Someone always comes along and wakes you up. I'm thinking it's that Weir fellow.

Posted by: Casca on Sep. 19, 2005

"...and hanging out on the corner with a sign that says 'Will work for ammo."

Like that's a bad thing (Not that I've ever done it myself. Personally. Everyday. For weeks on end.)

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 19, 2005

Remember, technically the SIG is Swiss and the Glock is Austrian. Only the HK and Walther are properly German.

Honestly, the whole safeties thing is a matter of preference, but remember, any gun is absolutely safe from bad-trigger-control/dropping/unholstering discharges if there's no round in the chamber, and if you practice, a draw-rack-aim-fire sequence is pretty darn fast.

I personally can't stand DAO either, unless the trigger is light and consistent (as Glocks are reputed to be, but somehow I've never gotten around to firing one...).

Posted by: Sigivald on Sep. 19, 2005