April 11th, 2020

Carry Pistol Comparison: SIG P365, S&W Shield, Glock 43

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pistol

Given the Coronovirus Pandemic, many Americans are looking to acquire handguns for personal protection, both in the home and while away from the house. Thus, many folks are looking for slim, relatively lightweight pistols that can be carried comfortably and discretely. There are dozens of carry guns on the market currently. But our friends at GunsAmerica.com have recently reviewed three of the best “micro-compact” 9mm pistols: SIG Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield, and the Glock 43.

GunsAmerica Review of SIG P365, S&W Shield, and Glock 43 »

Note: There seem to be some connection issues with GunsAmerica on 4/11/20.

After looking at a variety of factors, including accuracy, reliability, ergonomics, build quality, size/weight, and price, GunsAmerica’s tester Jeff Cramblit concluded that the SIG P365 was the best of the three: “Bottom Line — The SIG P365 wins this shootout in my humble opinion. The MSRP of $599 is a bit higher than the other guns but SIG brings a bit more to the game. The outstanding grip design, higher capacity, great sights, lighter trigger pull, smaller length, light weight and just a great overall feel make it a winning product. The other two guns are great, they have been the cornerstones of concealed carry for many years, and I have personally carried both of them, but SIG has changed the game.”

Choosing a Carry Pistol — Performance, Reliability, Value
This Editor owns two SIG Sauer pistols, a P226 and P232. Both are “old school” metal-framed handguns. I can attest to their quality and reliability over many years. So I’m not surprised to see that SIG’s new P365 took top honors in this recent test. But I also think the Smith & Wesson Shield also offers excellent value for the dollar. The S&W 9mm Shield is ON SALE now for $289.99 at Palmetto State Armory.

This YouTube Video Compares the SIG P365 and the S&W Shield

Accuracy with Various Ammo
In the GunsAmerica Test, the SIG P365 had the best accuracy, based on five (5) different types of 9x19mm ammo shot off-hand at 25 yards. The SIG’s average 5-shot, 25-yard group size was 1.45″, vs. 1.7″ for the Glock 43, and 2.1″ for the S&W Shield. The P365’s accuracy edge may be due in part to its lighter, 5.1-lb trigger pull compared to 6 lbs. for the S&W Shield, and 6.25 lbs. for the Glock 43.

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pistolDimensions — Width and Weights
Size matters — particularly when it comes to a carry pistol. The S&W Shield is the narrowest of the three guns at 1.03″ wide vs. 1.11″ for the P365 and 1.36″ for the Glock 43. Though it has the highest round capacity, the SIG P365 actually has the smallest grip circumference and grip depth. Weight-wise, the Glock 43, at 18 oz. unloaded, is the lightest. The SIG P365 is 18.8 oz., while S&W Shield is the heaviest at 20.5 oz. weight.

Capacity — SIG P365 Has the Edge
The SIG P365, holding 10+1 rounds, has the highest ammo capacity. This is remarkable as the P365 has the smallest grip circumference of the three pistols. Kudos to SIG for clever design. The S&W Shield has an 8+1 capacity, while the Glock 43 only holds 6+1. Advantage SIG.

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pisto

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April 11th, 2020

Trigger Tech: Trigger Options for AR-Platform Rifles

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

AR-platform rifles are fun and versatile, but the standard, mil-spec triggers leave much to be desired. They tend to be gritty, with creep and heavy pull weight. One of the easiest, most effective AR upgrades is a trigger group swap. An improved fire control group makes a huge difference. There are many aftermarket trigger options for the AR platform rifles. Choose single-stage or two-stage, either standard trigger assembly or unitized “drop-in” trigger, such as those made by Timney or Triggertech.

Read Full AR Trigger Article in NRA Blog HERE »

AR15 Space Gun trigger
When upgraded with a precision trigger and match barrel, AR-platform rigs work great in NRA High Power competitions (Photo from NRA Blog, at Camp Perry).

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stageTwo-Stage vs. Single-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers have two separate movements. The first stage offers a light, spring-loaded pressure that works against the shooter’s pull until stopping at the second stage – this is called “take-up”. If there is no spring pressure, it is known as “slack”. Should the shooter continue to pull the trigger once he’s arrived at the second stage, the mechanism will operate like a single-stage trigger from there until engaging the sear and firing the gun. Some shooters prefer a two-stage trigger because it allows a mental preparation (first stage) before the final decision to “break the shot”.

Single-stage triggers feature no take-up or slack, as they begin engaging the sear as soon as the shooter begins pulling the trigger. Some competitive shooters prefer the two-stage trigger because of the feedback it provides during its first stage, while other shooters, including those using their rifle in tactical scenarios, may want the surety of a single-stage trigger, ready to engage and fire once their finger is inside the trigger guard. Regardless of preference, a good trigger will feature minimal creep and should be free of grittiness, providing a smooth, even break.

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

Drop-In Trigger Assembly vs. Standard Trigger Group
Once you decide between a single-stage or two-stage trigger, you can choose between standard and drop-in trigger groups. Standard trigger groups feature all the fire control group parts separated, and need to be pieced together and installed much like a mil-spec trigger, while drop-in trigger are pre-assembled and contained within a casing that simply drops in to the receiver and accepts the pins, hence the name.

After-Market Trigger Comparison

Some shooters prefer drop-in triggers due to the ease of installation, while others opt for standard groups so they can access the components individually for cleaning adjustment or replacement. If one piece of a drop-in trigger fails, you’ll need to either replace the entire unit or send it to the manufacturer for repair, whereas you may be able to simply replace the broken component of a standard trigger without needing a whole new trigger set.

Trigger Terminology — “Creep”, “Stacking”, “Overtravel”
“Creep” or “travel” is the distance the trigger moves between the end of take-up and when the trigger breaks to fire the fun. Too much creep can affect accuracy, but no creep can be unsafe, as the shooter may not be prepared to fire. “Stacking” occurs when the trigger weight actually increases during travel — this shouldn’t happen. Lastly, “overtravel” is the distance the trigger continues moving back after the gun fires.

This article is based on a longer story in the NRA Blog.

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April 11th, 2020

Tech Tip: Input Key Variables for Your Ballistics Apps

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

“Garbage In, Garbage Out.” You have to input key variables with precision if you want your Ballistics Apps to deliver reliable long-range trajectories. So says Tom Beckstrand, Field Editor for Guns & Ammo magazine. A former U.S. Army Special Forces Officer, and avid long-range competitor, Beckstrand knows the importance of using your ballistic calculator correctly. Here are his tips on how to achieve the best results using Ballistics Calculators.

Key Variables: Muzzle Velocity, Ballistic Coefficient, Sight Height

“The most important inputs to make any ballistic calculator work correctly are muzzle velocity, ballistic coefficient, and sight height,” says Beckstrand.

Ascertain Accurate Muzzle Velocity with a Good Chronograph
“Cheap chronographs will not give an accurate muzzle velocity, so the serious shooter needs to spend the money on a quality chrono.” When you chronograph, make sure to measure the distance from the muzzle to the chrono unit. That input is also important to your Ballistic calculations.

Use Reliable G1 and G7 Ballistic Coefficients
Beckstrand added, “Ballistic Coefficients are available from ammunition and bullet manufacturers, and most of these coefficients the manufacturers provide are really quite accurate.” Ballistic Coefficient or BC, is a number that reflects how well a bullet cuts through the air. The higher the BC, the less the bullet is affected by air drag.

Measure Sight Height Correctly Using Calipers
Beckstrand has found that many shooters aren’t inputting sight height or they are guessing at the correct height. As target distance increases, just a half-inch of sight height inaccuracy can mean several inches up or down.

“Sight height is the input most often overlooked and is usually the source of greatest error. I think a lot of shooters, especially those new to long-range shooting, simply don’t understand the importance of this input.”

Sight height is the distance from the centerline of the scope to the centerline of the bore. Some shooters, Beckstrand believes, just “eye it up” and estimate the distance. “Really, you should use a set of calipers to measure the sight height distance … within 0.1 inch”.

This Video Explains How to Set Up and Use Ballistic AE:

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPadNeed a top-notch Ballistics App for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod? Start with Ballistic AE, the number 1 (i.e. most installed) App for iOS systems. Ballistics AE (Advanced Edition) is the most popular iOS ballistics program for many good reasons. Full-featured and easy to use, Ballistics AE has been refined over many years, and it supplies rock-solid solutions derived from JBM Ballistics solver (created by James B. Millard). Unlike some other Apps, Ballistics AE is STABLE on iPhones (with various OS levels). What’s cool is that Ballistics AE is now on sale for just $9.99.

We’ve used the Ballistic AE program on an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPad, and it performed well. Here are some of the features we liked:

  • 1. Mirrors output from online version of JBM Ballistics we often use for initial calculations.
  • 2. Controls are simple to use and (mostly) intuitive.
  • 3. Handy comparison feature lets you compare ballistics for different projectiles side by side.
  • 4. Advanced Wind Kit allows you to account for complex wind situations.
  • 5. Projectile and BC Databases are very comprehensive.
  • 6. Software is regularly updated to match Apple OS changes.

Ballistic-AE App for iPhone, $9.99 | Ballistic-AE App for iPad, $9.99

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

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