Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Winter Shootout

Welcome to the 2010 Winter Shootout! This is an annual tradition that Lindsay and I started a few years ago with some college friends. The goal is two fold: to get friends together to have some fun and to identify weaknesses in firearms from shooting in not-so-ideal conditions. Most years, it is snowing and cold. This year, it was cold and a ton of rain with some mud mixed in.

Aside from the obvious fun we were having with some good friends, I have some good news to report on for a few of my guns. These are described in the following order: Ruger SR9 drop test, Ruger SR9c CCW, Rock River Arms AR15, and the Beretta M9A1.

The controversial Ruger SR9 drop test: If you read my previous blog, and watched the video, you can see the gut-wrenching shot of me dropping a perfectly good gun into the mud and then without so much as a quick wipe down, I load it and fire 10 flawless rounds out of it. Rather than worry about the reasons why I dropped it, I will focus on the aftermath. After shooting the SR9 with mud caked onto it, the group continued to shoot it that day, dumping more than 100 rounds out of it without a single problem. Accuracy was dead on and I was hitting every water bottle and clay pigeon I aimed for. The gun handled the cold, rain, and mud without a single problem. I'm also happy to report that after 1 1/2 hours of detail stripping and intense cleaning, the gun is now 100% cleaned and lubed up, ready for the next adventure.

The Ruger SR9c CCW: This is my primary carry weapon. I carry it around on my person 99% of the time I am lawfully able to do so. As such, I normally give it a wipe down once a week with a good cleaning each month, just to get the lint that accumulates off of the trigger and internal components. This time, rather than cleaning it, I just left all that stuff on the gun and shot it as is, linty trigger and all. This gun performed flawlessly as well and was as accurate as the full size SR9. Unlike the full size, this gun did not get dropped in the mud, however, I was sure to carry it around in my hand a lot in order to let the rain water get all over it. This torture test was hardly enough to make the gun give in. On the contrary, the SR9c handled 100+ rounds without issue.

The Rock River Arms AR15: Rock River got somewhat of a bad reputation on one of the gun forums a while back from so-called purists who obviously know a lot less about AR15's than they would lead you to believe. According to these Internet "eggspurts," any Rock River Arms AR15 would jam every other round and blow up in your face. Additionally, these "eggspurts," refuse to take their reportedly superior rifles out to the deep woods and subject them to the elements, preferring instead to shoot from covered ranges, protected from the rain and dirt. Well, my AR15 is no range bitch! I bought my AR15 to be a mud gun. The whole idea was to have this gun riding shotgun with me when I'm out in the woods. Well, we put over 150 rounds through this gun, in the rain and dirt without a single malfunction. The only preparation this gun had for this abuse was a thorough cleaning after the last time it was out in September. Other than that, this gun was not prepped for action in any way. It shot and shot and would not stop shooting because a bunch of rain and debris got all over it. And believe me when I tell you that last night, when we were cleaning this gun, it was really nasty looking and very dirty. Water was everywhere and even though you wouldn't think debris could get into a gun that wasn't dropped on the ground, there was. This trip out confirmed what I already know: if you buy a Rock River Arms AR15, you won't be disappointed.

My newest, the Beretta M9A1: What can I say? It shoots! The Beretta cannot be trifled with a little torrential downpour. It laughs in the face of rainfall on biblical scales. Sadly, this gun did not see as much use as the SR9's but then again, a Beretta handgun has nothing to prove. The gun was accurate, predictable, and wrap-around grips I installed really helped out in the cold weather. One of our friends, a former Marine, commented that he really liked how the Streamlight TLR-1s made the balance of the gun better when shooting, as it helped with recoil. I have to concur with that. The Beretta M9A1 is a powder puff to shoot and it is deadly accurate out of the box with the standard 3-dot sights.

Overall, the paces I ran my guns through were sufficient for me and my training. Most people will not subject their guns to the crap I do simply because they think that water will make their guns rust shut immediately. Not so. It is good to note that after the shooting trip was over, everyone gathered at my house to help clean the 11 weapons that were subjected to the soggy stuff in an effort lessen the amount of cleaning I had to do as well as ensure that the guns were put back into order before being put up. I really have to hand it to my friends for that; they are a class act and I would not hesitate to take them shooting again.


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