Saturday, December 17, 2011

Planning The Next Phase

My wife and I were having a conversation about shooting, and as much as we both agree that shooting is fun, we hate the cost associated with shooting center-fire ammunition.  Let's face it, the cost of shooting is going up considerably.  We also agree that we both want to spend more time together at the range so we can improve our shooting skills and have fun.

Well, with family memberships at the local indoor range making attendance cheaper than paying as you go, we would be wise to invest in one.  We also want to be able to just go and pop off some rounds as often as every week instead of every couple of months.  However, we know that doing that with 9mm or even 38 special would bankrupt us really fast.  So, the solution is simple.

Get a .22 pistol.  Even better, get two of them.

I know that I may be going over ground I've already covered with this topic, but it bears repeating.  The ability to train with your handgun (or one similar to it) on the cheap will encourage more trigger time because the cost of shooting a 500rd brick of .22lr is about the same as a 50rd box of 38's or even a 20rd box of self-defense 9mm ammunition.

I took the family over to one of my local sporting goods stores and we looked at a few .22 pistols side by side.  I was interested in two particular guns: the Ruger LCR (now in .22lr) and the Ruger 22/45 target.

 First off, let's talk about the newest addition to the .22lr line up at Ruger.com.  This is the Ruger LCR.  It features a lot of go-fast technology, like a monolithic polymer frame, stainless steel barrel sleeve, stainless steel cylinder, friction reducing cam, fire controls that are completely contained, and Hogue Tamer grips.  I like all these features separately, but unfortunately, I just can't like the gun.  It's cool.  Don't get me wrong.  I really like how it looks, how lightweight it is, and I love the technological advances that went into it, but it just isn't for me.  The reason is because I can't naturally point it.  For some reason, when I punch it out, the front sight aims skyward in comparison to the other pistols I normally shoot.  I have to deliberately rotate my hands downward to get the front sight to line up in the notched rear sights.  I don't have this issue with my Ruger SP-101 with Hogue Monogrips, but I sort of did with the factory low profile setup.  I also don't think that the LCR would be appropriate as a training pistol for me because it does not emulate the feel of any other gun I own, including the SP-101.  Plus, for as much as they want for the .22lr LCR ($450), I could buy the 38spl version.  It doesn't make economical sense to me.

Enter the Ruger 22/45.  The model shown is the 22/45 Target Rimfire Pistol (TRP for short) with removable checkered cocobolo grip panels.  Since it is a target model, it features a bull barrel that is 5 1/2 inches long, adjustable sights, a smooth single action trigger, and it is an automatic - not a revolver.

So, what is so special about this gun that it steals the show when compared to the LCR?  Well, for one, it's got some heft to it.  I want something with weight.  It will not only absorb almost all the recoil from the diminutive .22lr, but it weighs almost as much as my Beretta M9A1.  Additionally, the sights are real.  There isn't a dumb notched channel and you can adjust the rear sight for windage and elevation.  As I said in my previous entry on the subject, the grip emulates the feel of more traditional semi auto pistols.  The grip angle is familiar, and when I punch this pistol out, that front sight naturally rests right between the blades on the rear sight.  I also like this version better than the models with integrated plastic grips.  This is thicker.  Oh yeah, that's better.  The fact that it is an automatic will also help training, as I can practice live magazine changes while shooting.  I can practice draws with it at the range, and just about anything I can do with my self defense or go to war (GTW) pistols.  The thing is that since it is a .22lr, I can do all my training for far less.  I do hate the magazine disconnect in this variation, but I can deal with it.  It's not a self defense gun so I'm not worried about the gun not firing without a magazine in a self defense situation.  This gun is a trainer.  It's good for me, my wife, and for my children when they get older.  Plus, at only $307, it makes economical sense.  500rds of .22lr is about $18, where 50rds of 9mm is about $15.  To shoot 500rds of 9mm, I'd have to spend $150 on ammo, which is half the cost of this gun.  Take this weapon out and dump 250rds a week and it will pay for itself in a couple months, including ammo.  That's value.

Of course, my wife doesn't want to shoot my gun.  And quite frankly, I don't want to take turns with her.  Heck, I want to shoot!  So, she is going to get something ideally suited for her little hands.

Since my wife's criteria for guns includes the cute factor, she's dead set on buying a pink pistol.  She knows it will cost more, but it's her money, and she can spend it how she feels.  While we were at the local store, she handled the Walther P22 and loved the feel in her hands.  It points naturally for her, and in her words, "It is like it was designed for my hands."

She is excited about this.  She's been wanting to really get into pistols, but her current lineup isn't conducive to shooting very often.  She does has a New Heritage Rough Rider in .22lr, and a Beretta 21a Inox, also chambered in .22lr.  Both are nice guns, but the NH revolver is an army style single action.  It's more of a novelty gun than a self defense gun or even a trainer for self defense.  The Beretta, as cool as it is, is sort of finicky and the sights really aren't ideal for a trainer.  She originally bought that gun because she wanted something that resembled my Beretta 92FS Inox, but in a smaller package.

Eventually, she may begin concealed carry, and even though the .22lr doesn't have a reputation for being able to kill or disable an attacker, there are a lot of dead people that have been killed by the .22lr that could debate that.  Plus, I'd rather she have 10rds that she could put down on target quickly and accurately rather than shooting something she can't handle.  And as her comfort with pistols grows, so will her confidence and skill.  Maybe, some time down the road, she will upgrade to something like a 9mm or even a 380 out of a medium gun, but for now, I'm satisfied to have her shoot .22lr and work on her proficiency rather than get into a contest of who can shoot the largest gun.  Clearly she can handle a large gun.  You ever see a 5ft tall, 100 lb woman shoot a 454?  Watch the video below and then you'll be able to say you have.



So, I know this entry is running long, but I had a lot of things to get out there so they don't bottle up in my brain anymore.  Stay tuned because I think this joint venture is going to happen very soon in 2012.

-James

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