Monday, October 17, 2016

Just the Basics – Firing First Shots

It was the last “gun” of the night.  I’m at our annual Ikes fundraising banquet.  One of the draws for this banquet is that we give away – this year – 19 guns, ranging from a Glock 19 to an AXIS .240 with scope.  We also have both a live auction and a silent auction as well as a meal provided by a state champion preparing a couple different smoked meats.  It was a great night.

One of the games was a 12x12 board . . . 1 thru 12 for the rows . . . and A thru L for the columns.  12 Red poker chips held the letters while 12 white chips held the numbers.  In each square was the attendee’s “number”.  We sell 130 tickets to the banquet – each attendee receives a unique number to use during the night for all bids.  (As a side note, I have the distinct pleasure of holding the office of president of our chapter – so the final management of this evening was on me.)  Up until now we had held a live auction for 21 items, a silent auction for another 17 items, held 2 other games, given away a ton of gift certificates, miscellaneous prizes and a total of 18 guns . . . one left, a Glock 19.  It’s always feels a bit dicey when a board member or officer wins a prize.  That said, we all buy tickets, bid on auctions and take our chances.  But, we all worry about appearances as well. 

One of the officer’s daughter was the “Drawing Professional” for the entire evening.  So we lifted the bucket containing the Red chips . . . “I!” called our vice president.  Lizzie dips her hand into the buckets containing the White chips next . . . “10!” calls the VP.  “The winning number is 2 . . . 7 . . . 3!”  And I pause . . . it’s my number.  I look at him and say – ‘That’s my number!”  I had one the last gun of the night . . . a brand new, outta the box Glock 19, Gen 4 with three magazines.  I have won two things in the past . . . a koozie . . . and a dish to keep food cold in a lunch box.  And now a new Glock - - - COOL!!!!!

The night wrapped up, I took some gentle ribbing abut the win, we cleaned up and we were all home by 11PM – a fine time was had by all.

At the banquet you actually win a “gift certificate” which you need to take to the local gun dealer, fill out all the appropriate paperwork and pick up your firearm.  Today was Monday with a broad assortment of customer driven “alligators” waiting at the office.  But by mid-ish afternoon enough were slain that I could head to the dealer . . . and then to the range to “Fire First Shots!” with my brand new Glock 19.

I carry a Glock 17 and have used my carry gun for virtually every course I’ve ever taken.  I like Glocks and feel I shoot them well.  I’ve never shot a Glock 19 so I was more than a little anxious to hit the range to see what I could do with it.

I’d like you to pause right here . . . at this point . . . and consider that the next time you are about to fire first shots . . . you will never have that opportunity again with that particular firearm.  So a little pre-range thought and prep may well provide you with some good information before you plunge ahead and just make holes in paper.  I keep hammering on the idea of “practice with purpose” . . . this is one other instance where you first shots should be deliberate and have purpose.

I set about the trip with 4 sets of criteria.  I wanted to familiarize myself with the G19 and its capabilities, I wanted to get a feel for how it shot, I wanted to evaluate its accuracy at various distances and I wanted to evaluate it during a “failure drill”.  All totaled that process took 55 rounds. (pay no attention to the number or rounds listed on the target . . . I fired 55 rounds, NOT 65.  My final score was 80%)   I expect to shoot well . . . every time I go to the range.  I have a “floor” I will accept in my performance.  If I drop below that, I will pick up my amount of range time to stay above it.  The hit percentage I’ve chosen is 80%.  80% of my rounds must hit within the “box”.  For this evaluation I used – as I typically do – the LETargets SEB target.  You can see it below.

I loaded three magazines with 15 rounds and went through two rounds of aimed fire.  Round 1 was from 15 feet, top to bottom along the left of the silhouette, numbers 1,3 and 5 in that order.  No misses on 1 and 3, dropped 3 on number 5.  Second round was from 21 feet, numbers 2,4 and 6 in that order.  Dropped one on 2 and 5 and 3 on number 5.  Third round was the “Failure Drill” or the “Mozambique” drill.  At a distance of 9 feet fire two rounds high center mass and one to the ocular cavity.  I repeated this 5 times – down zero.  Finally, I stepped back to 15 yards and fired 10 rounds . . . down three. 

Total round count – 55 rounds.  Total hits, 44 . . . for a “score” of 80%. 

Upon completion of a “First Shots” evaluation along these lines you have wrung out your gun for precision from 15 feet, 21 feet and 45 feet and evaluated your ability to get quick combat effective hits at a close distance and a single round requiring more than a little precision mixed in.  For me . . . I believe this is a reasonably solid evaluation course of fire for a new handgun.  While I held on by the skin of my teeth . . . I got my minimum 80% hit rate.  This provides me a starting point, a benchmark for this new addition to my defensive firearms.  I’m looking forward to some more work with the Glock 19.  While there is some thought to moving to it for a carry weapon . . . that’s quite a way down the road, if it happens at all.  But, for a first trip, for “Firing First Shots” . . . I gotta admit I’m pleased.

Been to the range lagtely??  Winter’s comin’ . . . going to be much tougher to drag your butt through the snow and cold to get good work done (it still needs to be done, don’t get me wrong) . . . so pick up a couple hundred rounds this week and get some range time this coming weekend . . . you don’t hone and refine your skills sitting in your recliner . . . just sayin’!


  1. I put 200 rounds through my 'new', slightly used Glock 19 two weeks ago. It's now moved into the carry rotation for the fall/winter.

  2. I put 200 rounds through my 'new', slightly used Glock 19 two weeks ago. It's now moved into the carry rotation for the fall/winter.

  3. When I'm not carrying my Glock 36 I'm carrying my 19. I'm sure you will get much enjoyment out of it.

    And yes, I do need to get to the range more often (and since I'm now a member I really have no excuse not to).