I Just Can't Keep Up with Things Any More


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Kleanbore
June 3, 2014, 02:04 PM
When I was young, a neighbor gave me a 1954 Shooter's Bible and the first Gun Digest ever, the 1944 edition. The number of center fire auto pistols shown in those books, excluding pocket autos, could be counted on one hand. The were all made entirely out of metal. So were all of the surplus handguns, one saw, by the way.

In 1955, S&W introduced their light alloy Model 39 DA/SA 9MM, which had endured Army trials. When I bought one in 1966, the design was considered tried and true. I remember thinking that my choice had been validated when I first saw Illinois State Parol officers carrying them.

By the way, we all fired one handed. No one I knew had ever heard of Jack Weaver.

A few years later, the Browning HP had been adopted by numerous armies, and there was Beretta or two. And then in 1982, the Glock came along.

When one walks into a gun store today, one sees all kinds of center fire pistols-- too many for me to begin to keep track of. Many have polymer frames. And many are striker fired.

And what I thought I knew came into question. The first Colt Government Model (we didn't say "1911") that I ever fired belonged to a US Army Lieutenant Colonel who had once demonstrated shooting and reloading his .45 while riding a galloping horse to some dignitaries that included Herbert Hoover. And I "knew" that the old .45 was without question the most reliable and durable automatic pistol in the world. I won't mention what I "knew" about the .45 ACP cartridge.

I knew that more than a century ago, a Colt .45 automatic had successfully fired 6000 rounds in Army testing. Wow! The alternatives at the time were the 9MM Luger, the Mannlicher, the Mauser, the Savage, and perhaps a few others; the Colt was the best in the world.

But that was then.

In 1982, a Glock fired 10,000 rounds without a hiccup in Austrian Army tests; subsequently, 15,000 rounds of high pressure proof loads were fired though the same gun.

Somehow I missed that, and it did not color my thinking when I acquired a high end Colt-type pistol several years ago.

I recently read a very good piece by Rob Pincus. Rob has the advantage of having observed how a wide variety of firearms perform in the hands of numerous students during intensive training classes. As of this writing, Rob reports that he recommends three handguns most highly for self defense. They are the Glock, the Smith and Wesson M&P without a frame mounted safety, and the Springfield Armory XD series. And he tends to favor the 9MM. I do not discount his opinions.

A few years ago, I would never have considered carrying a springfield XD. But: I now know first hand the the XD-S 9 4.0 leaves little to be desired for concealed carry.

At one time many years ago, I thought I knew a little about handguns. But as the old refrain goes, "Ah, but I was so much older then...I'm younger than that now."

And even now, I could not describe all of the different pistols one sees in the stores.

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LT.Diver
June 3, 2014, 02:32 PM
Words of wisdom right there. I mostly carry a Glock 19 these days, but if someone were to ask me what my favorite gun was I'd have to say it's my Colt Combat Commander. It's made of steel and wood and it fires the .45 acp, and it was beloved by a great many pistol experts who formed my interest and appreciation of guns.
Also, I worked in law enforcement for a bit over twenty years, and in that time our fire team used Sig P-226, P-220, Glock Pactical Tactical, and finally a Springfield Operator model 1911 .45acp. I thought it was interesting that we ended up where some teams begin. Somehow, our team leaders choosing a 1911 type weapon over all of the other platforms reinforced my already high opinion of this weapon.

mgmorden
June 3, 2014, 03:09 PM
Indeed. I think in part its all in what you get used to.

I'm not too old (32), but growing up everyone I knew had shotguns and rifles. Almost no one I knew had a handgun at all. For rifles in particular I developed an affinity for traditional "blue and wood". Stainless didn't look right. I'd never have a PLASTIC stock on my rifle either. Its the same attitude I see many have in regards to preferring steel framed handguns.

Speaking of handguns though, I didn't really get into them until I was 21 and could buy my own - and since then I've actually come to be much more of a handgun type of guy. Since I was exposed to handguns with very little prior bias or experience, I never developed the same type of feelings there. Stainless seems just fine to me on a handgun - heck I prefer it if I can get it. Polymer frames? Sure - seems like progress.

Its amazing what a bias can do. I'll admit that even knowing its illogical I still haven't shaken that "need" for my rifles to be more traditionally styled.

bannockburn
June 3, 2014, 03:59 PM
mgmorden

That was my experience as well; growing up most of us were into target shooting and hunting and all we had were rifles and shotguns. I was probably the first of our group to buy a handgun (a Webley Mk.IV at a county flea market and then later an Astra 600 from a friend of a friend). Both were all steel and while not all that visually appealing were built to last. After that came more "blued steel and wood stocked" pistols and revolvers, with mainly Colts and S&Ws, with an occasional foray into aluminum and polymer framed guns like an H&K P9 that I had for awhile and my first Glock 17 that I bought nearly thirty years ago.

Nowadays I still have a certain fondness for the traditional feel and look of blued steel and wood in my rifles and shotguns, but enjoy the new designs and considerable weight savings that polymer framed pistols bring to the table in regards to CCW.

Sergei Mosin
June 3, 2014, 05:33 PM
The variety of arms available to the general public today is unparalleled. It's a good time to be a gun enthusiast.

viking499
June 3, 2014, 07:40 PM
The variety of arms available to the general public today is unparalleled. It's a good time to be a gun enthusiast.

But, it's a terrible time to try to save money............

JohnBiltz
June 3, 2014, 10:56 PM
I've said it before, but this is a golden age of firearms.

BLU
June 3, 2014, 11:21 PM
There are many handguns out there that are high quality handguns.... that I don't like and won't buy for a dime. I do appreciate that many others do though! I will not let my bias against polymers, (I certainly do have one!), ever discourage someone else from buying one because the guy that has one may just be covering "my 6" with one! And that guy should remember my stainless revolver, (with speed-loaders!), has his "6" as well. We can all enjoy this time in history, no matter our tastes. As you all know.... the anti-gunners want to take our 'hobby/protection' away from us. Those are the folks I ridicule... not a gun owner for his choice.

tarosean
June 3, 2014, 11:53 PM
Shoot ya think that's confusing, look at Sig's offerings. 6 million versions of the same thing..

riceboy72
June 4, 2014, 03:25 AM
Agreed, tarosean! My first pistols I ever learned to shoot on were the P series in 1991, when there were merely the few models. Now I cannot keep up with Sig's line whatsoever, and it's getting close with the Glock, too. I do enjoy the variety available nowadays, but I tend to stick with pistols that have been around for a while. I have no real interest in the newest and greatest, and I'm not sure that I ever will.

Sergei Mosin
June 4, 2014, 07:18 AM
Kleanbore, I gather that the SR9c has been put out to pasture?

HexHead
June 4, 2014, 07:29 AM
Funny, I just realized after all the guns that have cycled in and out of my safe, the only handguns with metal frames are all revolvers now. I sure didn't see that coming.

Kleanbore
June 4, 2014, 08:13 AM
I gather that the SR9c has been put out to pastureNo.

MedWheeler
June 4, 2014, 08:16 AM
Reminds me of an excerpt from the film "Men in Black"

"Five thousand years ago, everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe.
Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat.
Fifty years ago, everybody knew we were alone in the universe.

Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."

Good post, KB.

PabloJ
June 4, 2014, 10:27 AM
I don't know about that, but I must be getting 'long in the tooth' because I lust for high tech upper crust 1911 like S&W with exotic Sc frame. There is entirely too much plastic in this world now. Even though I own two I consider plastic framed stuff cheap, ugly and mundane. Quite recently I been admiring WWII nazi P38. Must be because I made recent trip to muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego where bunch were on display along with lonesome Colt 1911.

tomrkba
June 4, 2014, 11:35 AM
The good way to keep up is to go to gun stores and shows and handle every gun there. Take photos of the interesting ones and read the manufacturer specifications, look for reviews and watch videos from hickok45 and others. When you're on the range, walk up and down the line asking questions about guns you do not have experience with. I take 50 rounds of 223, 45, 40, 9mm, 22 and 38 Special to the range since many people will let you shoot their gun.

Rent a few at the range and try them out. This exposes you to different design philosophies and makes you adapt your shooting to the gun. I find this does improve my shooting because there are so many different trigger and grip implementations that I have to figure out the common elements between them and master those.

Kleanbore
June 4, 2014, 01:09 PM
Since we have members participating who have only had pistols for a decade...

In my early days as a gun enthusiast, most police officers carried revolvers. Colt or Smith. No municipal LEOs in our area carried semi-autos.

At the gun stores, one could see and handle all kinds of military surplus semi-autos: Astras, Ballester-Molinas, Berettas, Lahtis, Lugers, Mausers, Radoms, Stars, Tokarevs, Walthers... I had the opportunity to shoot some, but not all, or these at the range, for fun. I never saw or fired a Bergmann-Bayard, a Nambu, or an early Steyr-Mannlicher, but I read about them.

When new developments unfolded, I read about them and perused a few in stores, but I never bought or fired any of them. The S&W 59 and 69 series guns (I saw no reason for double column magazines in those days); the Steyr GB; the H&K P7....

One that caught my attention was the Colt 2000, a rotary bolt entry that was a total failure. It was from an article about it in a gun mag that I first learned of DAO semi-autos. I didn't like the idea. I shot off-hand at targets, and I knew next to nothing about defensive pistol shooting.

I would have liked to have acquired, or at least handled, a CZ-75, but that was out of the question. Iron Curtain and all that.

With the exception of the CZ, these all came and went. They are all gone.

One reason I think I had a better handle on what was on the new and used shelves in those days than I do today is that product development cycles were a whole lot longer. Heck, the Springfield XD-S 9 4.0 that i mentioned in the OP was announced in February, and I first learned about it from an ad in a recent issue American Rifleman.

But it may be that I just spent a lot more time reading books and enjoying magazines in the old days.

But as Tom points out, one can handle guns in stores, and today one can rent them at ranges. A couple of years ago when I was looking for another compact 9 for concealed carry, I was able to rule out all but a couple because of fit, controls, and trigger pull.

And you can read about the results of extensive tests without waiting for the next monthly issue of your favorite magazine, or more realistically, the one after that.

Yep, the times they are a'changin'.....

I also believe that today's center fire pistols are, for the most part, far superior to the ones we had in the old days.

Not that I wouldn't love to be able to buy a new Colt Woodsman today....

jmr40
June 4, 2014, 02:33 PM
In 1982, a Glock fired 10,000 rounds without a hiccup in Austrian Army tests; subsequently, 15,000 rounds of high pressure proof loads were fired though the same gun.


You really are behind the times. Chuck Taylor surpassed the 300,000 round mark 4 years ago with his G-17. I have no idea what the latest round count is up to.

SwampWolf
June 4, 2014, 02:45 PM
I also believe that today's center fire pistols are, for the most part, far superior to the ones we had in the old days.


For the most part, I would have to agree. But then I have a Smith Model 52 that I've been competing in Bullseye events with since the late sixties that I don't think gives anything up in terms of being superior to young, whippersnapper, plastic pistols still having womb juice behind their ears.

CWL
June 5, 2014, 01:06 PM
I'm retro. I started my collection of firearms with the original Glock G17, back when I was 21, had a pocketful of cash and an education from the movies. "Plastic" was modern and all-steel was old. I sneered at Colts and revolvers as "has-been" guns for old people who were too feebleminded to change with the times. Hi-capacity was king, I mean, being able to blast 17+1 bullets at your target meant that my pistol was better, right?

Funny how I only collect M1911s nowadays.

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