Long before I discovered the mid-size Glock frame as the greatest carry gun in the world, my marginally legal carry arrangement was a used Canadian Browning High-Power in a case kept in my truck (I was living in the DPRM at the time). It had a tiny, old-style safety, but I liked the firepower the 12+1 capacity it offered over the 7+1 of my .45 and the 6+0 of my .357 Magnum. Way back then, I had only one (maybe two) of each...imagine! Then something called the .40 S&W cartridge came out. Finally, one could carry a more powerful round than the 9-mm and still have a good reserve of ammunition after double-tapping multiple opponents. Right about then, I'd just received an assignment to Korea (my 4th, I think) and I needed something to cheer myself up.
Enter gun shop, stage left. I wasn't particularly looking for a .40, just eye-shopping when I spotted a stainless steel Colt Anaconda .44 Magnum priced to sell! I wouldn't have to double-tap with that! The clerk said it was being sold for a Clinton staffer moving into the area who wanted to "walk the walk" of Slick Willy's administration. I slapped my credit card down quickly and was halfway through the paperwork when I took a closer look at the tag...I could scarcely read "SOLD" in the brighter light outside the display case. The clerk apologized profusely while I tried to calm my shaking disappointment (kinda like Ed McMahon coming to your door with a big check with your neighbor's name written on it). The staffer also had a Desert Eagle .50 AE on sale there, but I wasn't interested; I'd racked (or tried to...) the slide of one of those before and would wait for years to buy my first Israeli weaponry.
Moving on, I checked out a two-tone BHP "Competition" model with a nice, oversized safety. Then I picked up a SiG-Sauer P229 in the new .40 caliber...this was too sweet! It didn't snuggle into my hand like a Walther P-38 or a 1911, but it had a slide release and mag release I could reach with my short thumb (with a little adjusting). It's a German-framed gun priced as the Rolls Royce of Handguns (and this Maryland, which tacked more on the price); it would be the most expensive handgun I'd bought to that date. What the heck...I'd get to shoot the finest handgun available for a few months before spending a year in Korea not shooting at all. Back then, I'd shoot rarely at the local indoor range or at the gun club down the road from my parents up in PA on long weekends. I'd seen one IPSC match at the Fort Meade Gun Club, but never took the opportunity to try it. My only competition was with my little brother, from whom I won bragging rights in every discipline but clay pigeons. Well, the Rolls Royce of Handguns turned out to be the most accurate handgun I owned! Something to look forward to!
As my tour in Korea wound down, I landed an assignment to Tucson, where my good friend Jon was already stationed. We'd gone shooting/camping there when I'd taken my first non-hometown vacation to Tucson and San Diego. Jon was into IPSC and I was looking forward to getting a concealed carry permit (though I loved open carry in AZ, sometimes it's better to keep your gat under wraps). After I drove my guns down from PA (never
let anybody else move your guns!), I took the CCW class and brought my P229 for the qualifying range time. I was confident I'd breeze through very simple course of fire from five and 10 yards. First shot-- (double action, of course) boom!
out of the generous scoring area! Where the heck did that come from? I settled down and grouped the rest mighty tightly (thanks to the SiG's light single-action pull) and qualified for my CCW with only one miss.
For my first venture into IPSC, my only real choices were the P229, my Colt Series 80 Enhanced
, Glock 21, or ParaOrdnance P14-45. There was no way I would shoot minor (pride, ya know), although I still had the BHP with the tiny safety. This was pre-Limited 10 IPSC, so the SiG was the logical choice, since I hadn't amassed enough of the pricey P14 magazines yet and had no holster for the G21 either. I shot my Tyro match with the best in German engineering, only to be undone by Slovak-German genetics. By the end of the long match, my right index finger was having trouble with the looonng double-action trigger pull...I would learn the same applies to the big Glock 20/21; they're great guns for carry or light shooting, but in my hands they would take too much out of my weakling trigger finger over a long day of shooting. Methinks this also kept me from making Expert with the M9; I'd begin by clover-leafing my hits on target, then after hauling the wooden target frames out to the farther ranges, fatigue would slow down my trigger finger.
What to do? Shoot super-handicapped with the single-stack, single-action .45? Pay through the nose for Para magazines (actually, I did later)? Spend the crazy single Master Sergeant money (not getting flight pay yet) on a new pistol? Yes! The Glock 23 turned out to be the answer to my problem of putting a major caliber, high-capacity handgun into my little gurly hand, and snuggled its way into my carry rotation too! I shot the heck out of it for a year in the matches. Actually, I grew too fond of it for carry that I had night sights put on it and got a factory refinished .40 Glock 22 with two refurbished 15-round mags for a steal and dedicated it to competition.
When the flight pay finally started rolling in (on top of language proficiency pay I was already getting), I added several more handguns to my collection, including some big-body Glocks (20 and 30) and a Glock 19...because Jon kicked ass with his when he had occasional urge to shoot minor super-fast. Sadly, I shoot the G19 slower than the G22 for some reason, so the G19 found its way to the lower rear stack of Combat Tupperware in my gun safe.
After I retired, I came back to Tucson and when it was time to get a new CCW (I let the old one expire since I couldn't be certain I'd return to AZ), I dug back into the safe and got the G19 out. I was attending the class with Lisa the Biker Chick who also packs a G19 (and is a mighty fine shot when she wears her contact lenses). As you can see, I had four "flyers" out of 10 shots with a pistol I'd rarely shot. I attribute some of this accuracy to our instructor, Phil, who taught me how to defeat cross-eye dominance, but everything else goes to Glock accuracy...well, I might have some talent, too.
Nyuk, Nyuk...I still have the target stuck on my refrigerator with magnets. Hey, I don't have any kids! Note: I am not a beginning shooter, so if you are, a Glock might not be right for you
. Its lack of an external safety and light trigger pull, relative to the double-action of the SiG, requires it be kept in a rigid holster covering the trigger guard
. If you can keep things from leaping in front of the trigger as you holster it, it's a safe, accurate, and reliable carry/competition piece
And the P229? For me, it's a sweet range gun which I'd carry as my Sunday-Go-To-Meeting-Piece (I later got a smaller P239 with night sights), sort of like a "Dress Gun"...oh, yeah, like I ever go out any more. But for me, the Rolls Royce of Handguns takes a back seat to the Austrian BMW from Gaston Glock, especially the mid-sized ones.
Submitted to the Carnival of Cordite