Hey y’all, long time no post. Life’s thrown me an unexpected curveball recently, but in a good way. Long story short is that I was given the opportunity to proof-read and copy-edit the rough draft of a soon-to-be-published novel. I won’t say which one, but suffice to say it’s the sequel to an already-published novel by a pair of established authors. So this is kind of a big deal. Most of my spare time in the last few weeks has been devoted to that. And the manuscript is nearly 600 pages long, so it’s been taking me a while. But I’m about 2/3 of the way done, and hope to have it wrapped up by the end of the week. Then I’ll be back to regular, primarily gun-centric posting again.
Speaking of gun-centric, I fired an AR-15 for the first time last week. Yes, I already fired a Colt SMG, but this was a carbine-length, gas-operated (the SMG is direct blowback) in .223 Remington. IIRC, the particular model I fired was manufactured by Smith & Wesson. Thoughts: I gotta get me one of those! But I’m definitely going to get one with a mid-length gas system. The one I fired was carbine-length, and since I have really long arms (almost gangly-long), my firing position had my support hand right at the end of the handguards, so I singed my thumb on the gas block a few times.
Also found a new (as in new-to-me) gun store: In Site Firearms & Law Enforcement Supply up in Jeffersonville. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and while their selection of firearms (or at least handguns; I wasn’t looking to hard at the long rifles) doesn’t appear to be as varied as Targetmaster’s, they have an incredible selection of accessories. I’ve been looking for a holster for my P228 ever since I picked it up, but to no avail. No one ever had any in stock (and yes, I know a P229 holster should fit a P228, but the P229 holsters I found were all for the variants with railed dustcovers), but within minutes of my arrival at In Site, I found not one, but two P228 holsters. I picked up one of them – a concealable belt holster from Galco – and a matching magazine pouch, plus a copy of Art of the Dynamic Handgun from MagPul and a set of snap caps for dry-fire training. If you’re in the area, I highly recomment In Site and encourage you to give them a look.
Anyway, getting to the point of this post, I drove down to Targetmaster today and rented a Smith & Wesson Shield in 9mm. Also lucked out and arrived just as they were putting out 500-round cases of American Eagle 9mm, so I snagged one. Now I don’t have to worry about my ammo supply… at least for a few more weeks.
Anyway, I put a box of ammo through the Shield, and all in all, I liked it. Like the Kahr I tried a few weeks back, it sports a steel slide on a polymer frame, but unlike the Kahr, it didn’t feel top-heavy at all. Rather, it felt perfectly balanced – at least with the 8-shot extended magazine installed. The rental didn’t have the standard 7-round mag with it for some reason, so I didn’t get to try it. The trigger was very crisp, with a very short pull and light weight (though it did feel a little heavier than my P228 in single-action). It was also very accurate: once I got used to the trigger, which only took about three rounds, I was putting all my shots into a 3-ish inch group at 7 yards. I probably could have done better with more practice, but I ran out of ammo. Note to self: next time, buy more than one box…
All that said, while the Shield is a phenomenal pistol, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a carry piece, I personally am not going to buy one. Two reasons: first, it’s too thin. I know, that seems like a shocker, but I did some experimenting after I got the holster, and it turns out that I can effectively conceal my P228 under a T-shirt, so thickness isn’t so much of an issue for me anymore. However, the problem I have with the Shield is that the grip is so thin, combined with my really long fingers, that when I have my trigger finger actually inside the trigger guard and pulling the finger, the tip of my finger actually touches my support hand’s palm. It’s not very comfortable. The second reason is that the way the slide lock is positioned, the thumb of my shooting hand rests up against the lower corner of the slide lock. This doesn’t cause me to accidentally engage the slide lock during recoil, but it does cause the corner of the lock to smack my thumb a little during recoil. Again, not comfortable, but I’ve never heard of anyone else having that problem, so it’s probably just me. I suspect that if I adjusted my grip a little, the problem would go away.
That said, I absolutely loved the way the Shield felt in my hand. Honestly, if it wasn’t so insanely thin, I’d probably be seriously considering it. Next time, I think I’ll check out the S&W M&P Compact in 9mm. It’s still thinner and lighter than my P228 (which honestly isn’t as difficult to conceal as I thought – don’t worry, I haven’t worn it concealed outside the house), but I don’t think it’ll be so thin as to be uncomfortable. And comfort is important for me because I still live with my folks, and they still have their “you don’t need more than one gun!!!!” thing going on, so I would have to sell my P228 in order to buy a dedicated carry piece. Which, like I said, I could carry concealed if it came down to it.
Until next time, peace.