Golf tips for the discerning shooter Part 1

I often tell people you can take golf training tips and replace golf with “shooting” and they apply.

Yesterday, at work, one of the vendors I purchase from sent me a calendar that has golf tips.  Let us have some fun and see how well they apply to shooting.

All credits goes to whom ever made that golfing calendar.

Lets look at the advise for December 2018:

Golf is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off.

Chi Chi Rogriguez

Replace “Golf” with “Shooting” in that quote and I would agree.

There are plenty of ways to work on your long and short game in the off season.  Up the difficulty of the shots on your practice may by placing a tee upside down on a coin and try to touch it with out knocking it over.  This will be nearly impossible but will greatly improve your control.  To work on your chipping, place a towel or garbage can about to feet away and practice getting whiffle balls to drop on the towel or in the garbage.  For your drive, head out to the garage and swing a weighted club.  Doing this all winter will make swinging your normal driver feel effortless.

Calendar

So. . .

They are saying you should dry fire when you can not get out to the range.  If you are sick or snowed in, you can still dry fire at home for free.  Other practice alternatives can include air rifles, air soft, etc, to help you get practical trigger time when you are at home.

Also they say it is good to vary it up with harder to shoot, heavier, or greater recoiling guns.  If you practice a little shooting double action only with your revolver your Glock or 1911 trigger is going to seem even easier to shoot.  If you practice shooting a heavier guns, your standard guns are going to feel lighter.  I like doing the occasional practice with a .40 or my Glock 30 as it makes shooting the 9mm seem like nothing.  Just the same with rifles.  If you can run a 308 rifle well in rapid fire, the 5.56 will seem trivially easy.  Make practice harder than what you expect to need to do.

Standby for the next installment of golf advice for shooters.

Toggle-Locked Orphan: the Benelli B76

Today we have another article from our now gone friend Kevin O’Brien, or “Hognose” as he was known by his many fans and admirers. Kevin was the owner and writer of weaponsman.com and  passed away  in spring of 2017.  We repost his work here to save it, introduce it to more people hopefully and to honor our friend.

If you have a well-rounded firearms education, the name Benelli needs no introduction. Now part of the Beretta family, the marque has been known for its semi-auto shotguns since its founding in 1967. But Benelli made an attempt, in the 70s and 80s, to make a NATO service pistol. It’s interesting for its unusual toggle-lock mechanism (one we missed when we covered toggle-locking), its fine Italian styling, and its relative rarity: internet forum participants, at least, think only about 10,000 were made. (We do some analysis on this claim below, and posit a lower number).

benelli b76 pistol

There were other Italian semi-autos at about the same time, like the Bernardelli P-018, competing in part for European police contracts, as many Continental police departments replaced 7.65mm service pistols during the 1970s and 80s rise of European communist terrorist groups like the Red Brigades and Baader-Meinhof Gang. But the Benelli was a unique blend of design and functionality. Arriving too late into a market saturated with double-stack double-action pistols, it might have been a killer competitor for the P1/P.38 or the Beretta M1951 twenty years earlier, but by the end of the eighties, the market was heavily oriented towards double-stack, double-action, and often, ambidextrous-control service pistols. Even European police services who had thought 8 rounds of 9mm a real fistful of firepower had moved on — and so did Benelli, retreating to a concentration on its market-leading shotguns.

Mechanics of the B76

The toggle-lock is not truly a lock in the sense of a Maxim or Luger lock, but more of a hesitation lock or delayed blowback. Other weapons have used a lever in delayed blowback, like the Kiraly submachine guns and the French FAMAS Clarión, but the Benelli one is unique. It’s described in US patent No. 3,893,369. The toggle lock or lever is #5 in the illustration below, from the patent.

US3893369-1Benelli B76

Benelli often cited the fixed barrel of its design as a contributor to superior accuracy in comparison to the generic Browning-type action.

Aesthetics & Ergonomics

The styling of the B76 is a little like its Italian contemporary, the Lamborghini Countach: angular, striking, and polarizing. You love it or hate it, or like Catullus, both at once: Idi et amo. It came in a colorful printed box, resembling consumer products of the era…

BenelliB77Pistol in box

…or in a more traditional wooden case.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The somewhat blocky slide needs to be protected by a holster with a full nose cap, if you intend to carry the B76. It’s a large pistol and it would be prone to print if you did, much like any other service pistol like the M9, the Glock 17, or various SIGs. Where the pistol comes into its own is when you handle and shoot it. The safety falls right to hand, like that of a 1911, although as a DA/SA gun it’s perfectly safe to carry hammer down on a loaded chamber. The grip angle is much like the P.08 Luger, making for a very natural pistol pointing experience. The pistol’s steel construction and roughly 1kg (2.2 lb) weight makes it comfortable and controllable to shoot. The heavily-contoured grip on the target models makes it even more so.

The guns are known for reliability and accuracy, and their small following is very enthusiastic, reminding us of the fans of the old Swiss SIG P210 pistol: the sort of machinery snobs whose garage is more accustomed to housing premium European nameplates than generic American or Japanese iron, and who not only buy premium instead of Lowe’s tools, but who can take you through their toolboxes explaining why the premium stuff is better.

Production and Variations

The Benelli company was relatively new when it designed the B76. The US Patent application for its locking mechanism dates to 1973, and the planned start of production was 1976 (that may have slipped).

There were several variants of the B76, most of them sold only in non-US markets. The B76 was the name ship of the class, if you will, but there were several variants. The B77 was a scaled-down model in .7.65 x 17SR (7.65 Browning/.32 ACP); it was a completely different gun. The B80 was a 7.65 x 22 (7.65 Parabellum/.30 Luger) variant, largely for the Italian market; only the barrel and magazine differed from the B76. The B82 was a variant in the short-lived European police caliber, 9 x 18 Ultra (sometimes reported, mistakenly, as 9×18 Makarov). In addition, there were several target pistol variants, including the B76 “Sport” with target sights, grip, longer barrel, and weights, and a similar target pistol in, of all things, .32 S&W Long called the MP3S. We’ve covered some of these exotic Benellis before, in the mistaken belief that we had brought this post live, which we hadn’t. (D’oh!)

The one modification that might have brought Benelli sales to police departments or military forces was never done, and that is to develop a double-stack magazine. A “mere” 8 rounds of 9mm was already insufficient in 1976, when many NATO armies already issued the 13-round Browning Hi-Power as their baseline auto pistol, and the novel Glock 17 coming on strong.

Benelli dropped the pistols from its catalog in 1990. The company still produces its signature shotguns and a line of high-end target pistols, and even some rifles based on the shotgun design, but its foray into the pistol market has left Benelli with bad memories, red ink and a few curiosities in the company museum. But the curious pistol buyer looking for a firearm with a difference will find here a remarkable and character-rich handgun. If you’re the sort of man who can rock an Armani suit or avoid looking ridiculous in a Countach, this might be a good companion piece.

We’ve mentioned the internet claims of production of 10,000. The highest serial number we found on the net (5462) was well below that, but we certainly don’t have a statistical grasp on production yet. With 7 known serial numbers we can make a rough calculation that there’s a 9 in 10 probability the total production is under 6400, and a 99% probability it’s under 8500. That’s assuming our rusty MBA-fu still retains its potency.

Market

No B76s are on GunBroker at this writing, and only very few — single digit quantities — have moved since 2012. The guns offered were all in very good to new-in-box condition, and they cleared the market at prices from $585 to $650. One went unsold at $565 against a reserve of $600, hinting that, despite these guns’ character and quality, there’s just not much of a market for single-stack full-size DA/SA autopistols.

For More Information

We’re seeking a better copy, but for the moment, heres a .pdf of the manual. Unfortunately, it takes greater pains to describe the mundane DA/SA trigger system than the rare, patented breech lock!

benelli_b76.pdf

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

My Firearms: Glock 30, a forgotten glock.

Years ago I would buy used ACOG scopes cheap, use them for 6 months to a year, then sell them for a small profit in order to repeat the process with a different ACOG.  One of these times I was offered a Glock G30 with a large number of accessories in trade for an ACOG I had hardly any money in.  It was such a good deal for me I was going to get the G30, shoot it for a bit, then flip it for a profit when I got tired of it.

I still have it.

Long ago evil prevailed and an assault weapons ban (AWB) was passed in the United States.  Part of this limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds.  Many consumers felt that if they could only have 10 rounds, they would rather have the largest rounds they could practically use.  This helped bolster the already ever popular .45ACP.

Glock had made a full sized pistol in .45 ACP, that is the G21.  Many people, including my self, find that the G21 feels especially awful in the hand, very brick like.  Even more so than a standard Glock.  While still very accurate and reliable, the 13 round capacity large G21 never seemed to be that popular from what I could tell.  Still sold more than enough to be a commercial success.  During AWB, guns built around a 10 round capacity became popular.  Glock designed a compact pistol in 10mm that held a 10 round mag, that is the Glock 29.  Soon after, they made a version of that in .45 ACP, the Glock 30.  The mags had to be a little longer to allow for the larger diameter of the cartridge.  That is why the G30 mags have a larger base plate on them.

It would be reasonable to expect the G30 to have the same awkward feeling grip of the G21, but much to my surprise it feels comfortable in the hand.  I’d had several other people who hated the G21 and had to be coerced into firing my G30 comment similarly.  I don’t know why this pistol feels better in the hand than the G21, but for me, it just does.

Accuracy and Reliability all fall right in line with Glock “Perfection”.

An annoying thing is that Glock doesn’t make the G30 any more.  They have 3 models replacing it!  The G30S, the G30SF, G30Gen4.

Glock took the generation 3 Glock 30 and made the grip a little smaller to make the G30SF.

There is the Glock G36, which is a single stack .45 ACP that is thinner.  The G36 had some teething issues early on and developed a reputation for being finicky.  But people found that you could put the thinner lighter G36 slide on a G30 frame.  After that started to become popular, the G30S came out which is a G36 thinner slide on the G30SF shorter frame.  The G30S is often said to be the best choice of the bunch for CCW as it is slimmer and lighter than the others.

The Generation 4 G30 is the same as the G30SF with the option to change the backstrap.  With out any of these inserts installed it has the shorter grip like the G30SF, and you install back straps to give it the standard sized grip or larger.

As of when this article is written, there is no Gen4 G30SF and no Gen5 G30 models.

 

I think the G30 and the variants are overlooked.  That is a real shame as this is compact great shooting .45 with a greater capacity than a standard 1911.

Thoughts on Service Weapons

Another day of Doctors  sawing bones ,and leech treatments today.   But thankfully Mack, has written a guest post for today on his idea on US service  rifles. Some of you will recognize Mack as he was a regular commentor at weaponsman and here.  I have invited him to be a regular guest for our site and therefore giving me more chance to be lazy.

 

 

 

The A-7F StrikeFighter II was a multi role carrier capable high sub-sonic war plane that was relatively cheap that worked and was flown in some variant by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. After the First Gulf War, it was ingloriously sent to the bone yard in Arizona. The A-7F was everything the F-35 wants to be but better and cheaper. The F-35 project is about like the damn M-17/ P320. This is what I am afraid will happen with the Army trying to adopt a new 7.62 platform.

First off, all the Camp Perry and M-14 fanboys can chill in that the solicitation as currently available to the public is for new DMR platforms only. So no, Cletus, the Army is not giving every soldier a 7.62 battle rifle. Sorry about it, go put another coat of varnish on your M1A.

I will not dispute issues of lethality with the M-4/ 5.56; however, I will proudly stand by the rifle and the round when used with effective ammunition at realistic ranges. Whatever genius in the ordnance corps thought the M855 was a good man stopper out of a carbine, is probably the grandson of the fella that thought the AEF shouldn’t use a Lewis gun.

Iraq for the most part was an urban war. Afghanistan was fought in the valleys and the mountains. For the most part, the M-4 did okay in both of these. However, a good case can be made in Afghanistan particularly, that the American soldier or Marine could have been better served by more 7.62 rifle, key word rifle, platforms. However, this in my opinion, is specific to the war in Afghanistan. Begrudgingly, I will admit, the Marine Corp seems to be on the right track with the M-27. That gives more fire power and accuracy to the individual fire team. I believe something like the Navy’s Mk 13 issued to the fire team level is what the Army should go with. However, since it is both a Navy specific platform and not new, I highly doubt the Department of the Army will go with it because it makes too much sense.

There are undoubtedly times when a 7.62 is needed, but with apologies to MG Scales, the United States Army is not being outranged in Afghanistan by illiterate goat farmers with Mosin Nagants. For whatever reason, the US Army is infatuated with the myth of SGT York stopping the Germans with accurate rifle fire at 1000 yards. That is all well and good, but the damn training doesn’t even live up to that myth, much less the equipment. The US Army would be better served to half the amount of don’t drive drunk and don’t sexually harass power points in favor of more realistic range time that isn’t done on a square range shooting at paper targets.

And of course, after great fan fare, the request for a new 7.62mm platform was quietly dropped. And now the Army is looking for a new sub gun. Which makes sense to an extent. But not really.

If I were allowed to select the Army’s new crop of personal weapons, we would see a Glock 19 as a sidearm. And multiple uppers for the M-4. A .300 BLK for PDW/suppressed awesome, the standard M-4 style 5.56mm upper, and a heavy barreled SDM platform. Modularity for days.

If the U.S. military could supply six calibers to far flung fronts across the world in World War II, they can certainly bear the burden of supplying .300 BLK to the guys in the Sandbox.

Mind Over Matter

 Today I am sharing another article from weaponsman.com.  Our friend, Kevin, “Hognose” passed away last year and we continue to share some of his best articles in our ongoing tribute to him.

Mind Over Matter by Kevin O’Brien

Tumba_de_Napoleon_Bonaparte“In war, the moral is to the physical as ten is to one.”  – Napoleon Bonaparte.

True, Napoleon got his ass kicked by the rest of Europe’s powers in the Sixth Coalition. And then by the same cast of characters in the Seventh Coalition again. So, however great he may have been, as a general he had his limitations. You could say, in fact, that he instantiated the Peter Principle: rising to his ultimate level of incompetence as Emperor and grand strategist. (He won a lot of battles, but lost the only one that counts: the last one). But he sure could coin an aphorism!

Many shooting beginners don’t take counsel from old Boney. Instead, they let the gun magazines and the YouTube guys be their guide. Now those sources of information have their place, but they’re not best for beginners, because they focus almost exclusively on equipment. (We’re assuming you want to start with a handgun for self-defense, because that’s the most common desire of beginners these days. If you have some other interest, then you’re welcome to take what you can from this post, and ask what you need to know in your situation).

When you start off shooting, you do not need to be in the Gun of the Month Club, however happy that may make you. (Scientists have shown that the act of acquisition releases the same sort of pleasure hormones and that you get from many other, er, pleasurable activities).

You do not need the very best this or the custom awesome that. Every year, lots of people get whacked with handguns,and it’s almost always with a bone-stock firearm. That’s what most cops, most soldiers, and practically all criminals carry. That’s what you need to start with, and what you need to do with it is practice.

So What do you Need?

We’re going to talk a bit about the hardware for beginners. But remember what Napoleon said; and if you need the most important message in this post, the tl;dr version, scroll down to the subheading The Most Important Thing.

And if you’re still with us, hardware-wise, here’s what you need.

You need a gun. A decent gun, in a decent defensive caliber, that fits your hand reasonably well, and that you can conceal in the sort of clothes you like to wear. You need at least two spare magazines, in standard capacity unless the laws of your jurisdiction restrict you to dwarf mags.

A decent gun is going to be made by a manufacturer you have heard of before. Like Glock, Smith & Wesson, SIG, Colt, FN, HK. A popular gun is easier to maintain, and much easier to resell. Beware of salesman who seem to promote a specific gun — he may be getting what the industry calls a “spiff,” a specific incentive to move some particular product (or he may just be a fanboy. Some gun-store clerks are deeply knowledgeable about their products, but a much greater percentage think they are deeply knowledgeable about them). Now, he may have a spiff to promote the gun that is just right for you, so don’t assume it’s Opposite Day when he starts talking. Just remember that his pitch may be completely orthogonal to what you need.

If you need more specific advice, your first handgun should be inexpensive, standard-capacity, 9mm. Why?

  • Inexpensive — because most guns are going to shoot better than you do. This is not a lick on you: most handguns shoot better than most shooters. You don’t need to optimize your gun buying. You should be satisficing — picking the first reasonable choice that comes up. Don’t go all the way to cheap, however. You can get a $100 9mm, from Hi-Point for example. Unless it’s all you can afford, don’t. 
  • Standard-capacity — as a beginner, you want a middle-of-the-road firearm. You do not want a gigantic horse pistol, but you do want a decent quantity of rounds (unless, of course, you live in some hellhole like North Korea or New York, then the choice has been made for you).
  • 9mm — the ammo is reasonably priced, usually widely available in many different loadings, and 9mm defensive ammo performs as well as larger calibers, both in the lab and on the street.

Why not .40? The FBI carries .40. The cops carry .40. There are a bunch of internet memes about “cartridges beginning with .4.” We heard Eeee—leet Jungle Jim Killer Force carries .40s or .45s when they kick hostages and rescue doors.  Why not a .40 or a .45?

Because right now, in 2015, 9mm is your best balance of defensive effect — with proper ammo —  and manageable recoil, which leads to better shooting. Gunfights are not won with sheer weight of shot; they are won, or lost, with bullet placement, period. And bullet placement means gun control (the good kind). Every agency that went from 9 to 40 saw qualification scores go down, and every agency that went the other way saw them go up. The .40 in particular has a nasty, sharp recoil to it. It’s not unmanageable, but 9 is easier.

This is going to be hard enough without you adding unforced difficulties to the hardship stack. Get the 9. (You will also find that, while the cost of warshots is fairly close, the cost of inexpensive FMJ for practice is a lot better on the 9mm end of the beach).

You need a holster. One that fits the gun specifically. Unless you are very lucky, and very easily pleased, your first holster will not be your last holster. Therefore you want an inexpensive, sturdy holster. Use it until you are sure that you need something else. But the same as with the gun, the best holster next week gets beat by a decent holster today. Your first holster should be an outside the waistband, Kydex holster. It should fit the belt you already own and wear. Learn what you like and don’t like about this. Do not buy an el cheapo Cordura holster — it will not fit, hold, retain or position your gun like Kydex will. Don’t buy leather, yetYou have a lot to learn about holsters before you buy an expensive one.

A couple of vendors, like S&W, sell a beginner kit which includes spare mags, a holster, and a cleaning kit.

You need ammo. Buy inexpensive, brass case, factory-loaded, FMJ ammo. Why?

  • Inexpensive — because like the guns, most ammo is going to shoot better than you do. There will be a time, perhaps, when you worry about brands and features. This is not that time.
  • Brass case — it’s more expensive, but it’s easier on the gun.
  • Factory-loaded — the biggest single cause of kB!s, meaning, guns that return to kit form on a kinetic basis, is badly-loaded ammunition. Screwed-up ammo happens, but it happens with extreme rarity in factory loads. Uncle Bubba’s Handloads are Uncle Bubba quality.
  • FMJ — this is practice, blasting ammo. So you don’t want to spend the extra ost of expanding tip ammo when you’re going to be shooting it into paper targets. In the meantime, you can use it as carry ammo. It’s not optimum, but it penetrates well and will disable a threat, given correct shot placement.

You need spare mags. Get two. (On top of the one in the gun). Factory are ideal, aftermarket are OK if you check them and they’re OK. How do you check them? Load ’em up and cycle them through the firearm a few times dry, and a time or two, at least, at the range, firing. (The feed loads are a little different in a firearm being operated by hand and one being operated by recoil).

You need a cleaning kit. Note that the solvents and oils used with firearms smell nasty and they’re probably toxic, too. Cleaning is an outdoor activity when and where weather permits. The reason you need to think about it, even with modern guns that have demonstrated very long firing strings without failure, is that disassembling, cleaning and reassembling your firearm will help you yo understand it.

The Most Important Thing

OK, so now you have all this good stuff. What else do you need?

You need training. You need training in the laws of self-defense of your jurisdiction (and in general, as license reciprocity is increasing), and you also need training to use your firearm effectively. Indeed, what is in your hand is immeasurably less important than what is in your head and what is in your heart.

You need training more than you need your own firearm; lots of instructors and ranges have rental and loaner firearms for beginners attending courses. Using a rental or loaner is actually a good way to get a first impression of a model of firearm you’re curious about, without actually buying the thing to experiment with. (What if you hate it with a purple passion? A lot easier to fix that when it’s a range rental than if you already brought it home from the pound because you liked its looks).

What training? Where to get it? That’s food for more posts in this series, which will be in the new Training category. Also, we’ll tell you how to get a good deal on a good used gun, and save yourself some money for ammo.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).