Pistol DOGMA. But Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo.

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Got your attention? Since I just posted the email replies about me NOT being dogmatic about ONLY using/promoting revolvers, I guess now is a good time to tell you all about the new Heckler & Koch VP9. It has been in limited release since June 2014, with more and more samples squeaking their way out into the hands of eager gun fans. It didn’t even take the enthusiastic accolades of Caleb Giddings or Larry Vickers to get the gun community into a lather about this one…it’s HK, and people love HK! I’ve been an HK fan since I was a junior high kid watching, “Die Hard.” And things haven’t changed…I’m still a fan. I’ve had the pleasure of the company of an HK VP9 for a week now. And 1000 rounds later, I can say that I am an unabashed fan.



If I had to characterize the HK VP9 in one sentence, I would say, “It is like a hug you give yourself.” THAT is how I feel when I wrap my size 12 mitts around the grip frame of this elegant piece of Teutonic wizardry. The gun feels distinctively HK, no doubt. The first thing many folks have said when they’ve seen it, or handled it is, “It sure looks a lot like the Walther PPQ!” Does it? Don’t all German guns look similar, kinda? Anyway, I see the Germanic resemblance, sure. This gun shoots itself (not literally…keep trolling anti-gunners). It is the easiest shooting, striker fired pistol I have personally experienced. The Glock 17/19 series, the S&W M&P Full size and Compact series…subjectively, the HK feels better, shoots better, and will probably fit a wider variety of hand sizes than most of the others. The size envelope is like a Glock 19 with a slightly longer grip frame. The magazine capacity is fifteen rounds of your favorite 9mm. The pistol comes with very usable sights, in the common, “3 dot,” configuration, although you can easily black out the rear dots if you desire. The paddle magazine release, the aggressive but not abrasive frame texturing, and the beveled edges of the slide are all classic HK.

  The odd looking vertical ribs that appear to be coming out of the rear sight are actually manipulation ribs that give the user more purchase when racking the slide, or to use as a stop for emergency clearance off of a belt, holster lip, or boot heel.

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Like I mentioned earlier, I have only 1000 rounds through this pistol at this point. But I am a fan. I’ll continue running rounds through this thing, and I’ll be taking it with me to the PAUL-E-PALOOZA Memorial Training Conference this coming weekend, August 16-17th in Garrettsville, OH ( http://www.paulepalooza.com ). I will get some more rounds down range through it, and see what else I can do with it. In the meantime, I’m rocking it in a Tucker Gunleather “CoverUp,” ( http://www.tuckergunleather.com/cover-up-iwb/ ) and carrying my spare magazine in a pocket magazine carrier ( http://www.tuckergunleather.com/pocket-mag-pouch/ ).  I can’t say enough good things about Tucker Gun Leather.  The rig is top quality, full grain leather, fits the gun like it was poured onto it, and it is comfortable for all day wear, even when driving.  Rob Longenecker at Tucker Gun Leather is so quick to answer emails and get orders out, it is baffling.  I have a Cover Up for nearly every carry gun I have.  It is my, “go-to,” leather carry holster.

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The first five shots from this pistol…30 feet, about one shot per 1.5 seconds.  Less than 1″ group.  HK’s are accurate weapons.  PERIOD.  My experience with HK accuracy goes all of the way back to my armored truck days.  In 1997 I bought an HK Fullsize USP in .45 ACP…I had it on layaway (hey, a $650 purchase making $10 an hour was a lot of money!) and I picked it up from the gunstore, then had to qualify with it the next day.  The first evolution of the qualification was 6 rounds, at 25 yards from the strong side barricade position.  This was pre-LASIK surgery for me…I wore, “birth control glasses,” but back then, most often I just squinted really hard.  On the whistle I drew my pistol, took my position, aligned my sights and pressed the trigger…six times.  I squinted to see, best as I could, and was absolutely sure that I completely missed that B27 target.  Not a hole could be seen from where I was standing.  My heart dropped into my boots.  The range master reeled the target in, and low and behold, there were six holes, ALL touching on top of the, “X” IN the X ring.  My belief in the accuracy potential of the HK was affirmed!  This HK is no different…it will perform with astonishing accuracy, as long as you do.

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A great skill drill for any student of defensive pistol craft is the, “Dot Torture,” drill.  I first heard about this from Todd Luis Green, but I believe the drill originally came from David Blinder.  I do this drill on my one hour lunch break frequently (once or twice a week).  It is the first drill that I shoot, and it really gives you a good idea about where your strengths and weaknesses are.  Shooting a low probability target, at speed, reloading, transitioning from target to target and strong hand and weak hand only are covered.  You’ll need 50 rounds (although I only had 49 for this drill…I dumped two boxes into my ammo bag and must’ve lost one on the floorboard).  I use a timer, although you don’t need one.  I try for sub 1.75 second draws and 1.5 second reloads.  Some days I’m right there, and some days I’m a bowl of spilt poo.  Anyway, the HK is VERY easy to shoot well, there is a firm trigger press required, but very little trigger travel is needed for ignition.  The reset is very positive, and feels like the positive push and snap that you get with a NY1 trigger return spring in a Glock (at least to my calloused finger).  I know of a couple of friends that have had VP9 samples with poor triggers, but I suspect that they just got unlucky.  Like any new gun, I have no doubt that there will be bugs to work out.  But, such is the luck of buying a, “new,” anything.  Cars, guns, Keurigs…new products always have some post release development or improvement needed.  HK probably less than other companies, as the Germans, by their very nature, are good, and thorough (Big Lebowski reference, anyone)?

WHAT, WHERE, WHY?

READER MAIL (it helps if you read this in the Strong Bad voice)

Dear Revolver Science,
I like reading your blog and FB page. However, your page is called, “Revolver Science.” But you write about pistols, too. What’s the deal with that?

Signed,
Herb

HELLO HERB,
THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSAGE. You are absolutely right…I DO write about semiautomatic pistols. I do this because I feel that they, just like revolvers, are a useful self defense tool. I could’ve called this blog, “PRACTICAL SELF-DEFENSE FOR PRAGMATISTS,” or, “TACTICAL WHIZBANG DYNAMICISM,” but, I chose, “Revolver Science,” because it is catchy sounding. AND I am a classically trained scientist (philosophy, cellular biology, toxicology research, medicine/dentistry). So I write about revolvers, pistols, rifles, shotguns, battle axes, defensive driving, situational awareness, how to load/unload groceries without ending up in your trunk, and any other myriad of things that I find useful that others might get a kick out of, too. I originally came up with this blog to keep the tradition of defensive revolver use alive and well. There are a very few numbers of trainers out there that teach revolver technique anymore, and I have trained with several of those instructors. I hope that by writing about experiences and techniques that they have kept alive, the material with always be out there, if for nothing else than historical reference (which IS, the backbone of classic science). Thank you for reading!

Dear Revolver Science,
You don’t write articles consistently. It seems like you only make two or three at a time, and then there is…a long pause. Many of the other popular firearms blogs produce multiple articles a day. What gives?

Peace,
Melvin

THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSAGE, MELVIN. Sometimes I have ideas for articles, all at once, and I’ll write a few posts. Other times, I go to the range and try out a new drill or technique, and it either goes all to well, or I encounter deficiencies that require more work to come to an adequate conclusion about. Instead of making you suffer through my ramblings about trying to knick .04 seconds off of my split times, I figure I’ll just wait until I have something particularly worthwhile to say. I’m not so vain to think that you care about every trip I make to the range, or the contents of every mail call I get.

So, sorry Melvin. I would love to give you a thoughtful piece of genius wisdom, three times a day, but between being a Dad, a good boyfriend and a professional exodontist, I don’t always have the thoughts or the time to be able to compose cogent essays. But I’ll do my best to keep what I DO write, interesting.

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AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

I’ve been doing more range work with the Smith 69.  It’s a .44 Magnum built on the L frame (heavy medium frame).  I’m vacillating back and forth between the grips on the top (Pachmayr Compac) and the lower (Hogue Monogrip without finger grooves).  The Pachmayr’s feel better in recoil, especially with the full bore .44 Magnum loads (although I carry and would primarily use .44 Specials).  However, the lower grips draw easier, and feel better in the hand.  Unfortunately, Pachmayr grips don’t fit as well as they once did…I have some older models that DO fit great on some of my guns.  But I with that they still had the same QC that they once did.  I’ve also discovered that HKS speed loaders for the Charter Arms Bulldog work in the Model 69.

I’ve also been working with the ERGO grip for the J frame, and I’ll have a big write up on it soon.  Lots of interesting things in the works.