Another successful Women on Target event

I spent most of my Sunday (April 26th) at the Sir Walter Gun Club coaching new shooters. I volunteered for a Women on Target event a few years back and now it’s become a habit. These are scheduled in the spring and the fall and are advertized as “rain or shine”. We had great weather last November but we started this event with rain. The weather was wet & cold for the first half of the day and stayed chilly in the afternoon. I got to try out my rain gear and it did keep me dry. We set up canopies over each shooting station to keep shooters out of the rain but everything got damp.

I set the alarm for 5:30am so I’d have time for breakfast before leaving the house at 7am to assist with setup. I remember thinking… “Why did I agree to do this?“. I instructed at the reactive pistol station. We had two bays and at each bay we had 50 minutes to teach 6 women to shoot a 9mm pistol at steel targets: if you hit them they fall down. It provides great visual feedback. Once we gave every lady the opportunity to shoot 15 rounds of 9mm (S&W M&P), we also let them shoot a S&W 67 revolver (.38 Special) and explained the different between shooting double and single action. We worked with 3 groups of 6 before lunch and 2 groups after lunch in our bay.

I personally instructed about 25 ladies. I don’t consider myself an experienced instructor but I can help a brand new shooter get the basics right, help them build confidence and insure every one stays safe. My co-instructor was very seasoned and he helped with the women that found this to be challenging. We were very serious about calling the range hot and cold (to reset targets) and checking in each time before going hot again.

Typically our groups of women have shot .22 pistols before rotating to our station for larger pistols. The first group has not. This group included a women that was very quiet and tentative. I talked her through stance, grip, sight alignment and trigger control. She looked apprehensive. Then she shot. I think it took about 3-4 tries before she hit the first steel target. Wow! She went through a transformation! She broke out into a big smile and said, “I can do this!”. Once experience like that will keep me coming back, getting up early and staying out in the weather.

More about the Women on Target Events: 

There are two “Women on Target” events (NRA sponsored) in the spring and in the fall. They are intended for women with little or no shooting experience. They are hosted at two local private ranges in the Raleigh/Creedmoor area. Each event is limited to 60 women. Groups of 12 women rotate through 5 different types of shooting clinics during the day. The events run from 8am till about 4pm and are rain or shine.

The attendees are all ages, a mix of races, and can include multiple generations of women from the same family. Come with your family, your friends, or just come alone (I did).

This fall:

  • Oct 10th, 2015: Durham County Wildlife Club: Pistol, Rifle, Archery, Skeet and Trap
  • Nov 1th, 2015: .Sir Walter Gun Club: 22 Pistol, 9mm Reactive plinking, High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Skeet

You must mail in your application on a specific date as they won’t take them before that date and tend to fill up quickly.

If you’d like more details, please send me a private message and provide your email address. I can email you the flyers/application forms.

I’ve attended as a participant and as a volunteer instructor in the past and most ladies are smiling and confident by the end of the day! This group provides a safe, positive experience.

Mystery solved! Not limp wristing. Extractor issue.

The level of frustration with my 1911 finally got to the point I reached out to a local instructor and asked him if he could “fix me and the gun”. I’m guessing this isn’t the first time he’s gotten a request like this.

I’ve taken the gun to a gun smith and it showed improvement for about 6 months, but then I had an ongoing set of evolving issues and I needed to know if my shooting was contributing to the malfunctions or if it was an issue with the gun. I’ve been told I was limp wristing more than once lately by shooters in my squad. I thought I might be riding the slide. In any case, I felt that selecting an instructor that could work with me and diagnose the gun at the same time would be the best way to get past these constant malfunction drills I’m doing mid-match. And then move on to improving my shooting.

I had my first session last night. The gun will be in a box and headed to S&W shortly with a request to fix a “failure to eject” issue. Several issues with the extractor were pointed out to me and I was told I’m not limp wristing. I’m pretty excited by that. The potential of a well functioning firearm is thrilling!

As for my shooting, I learned a few things that made perfect sense now that I’ve been shooting a few years and I’m ready to hear them. I have some work to do but I see the possibility of improvement.

I haven’t asked the instructor’s permission to post my experience online so I haven’t mentioned a name on purpose. But my gun and I will be back for more coaching as soon as S&W ships it back.


XDS trigger job – Part2

The newly packaged spring & sear kit.

The newly packaged spring & sear kit.

This is a follow up to Part 1. If you don’t want to read the entire blog post, the final verdict: new trigger weight after replacing the springs and the sear: between 4 3/4 and 5 pounds.

Part 2:
I finally received the Spring & Sear kit from Powder River Precision. It comes in a more costly but more professional looking package compared to the original spring kit. More to throw away after you unpackage the parts.

To install the sear, you have to take everything apart again that you disassembled to replace the springs. It’s non-trivial and frustrating to get everything lined up exactly right.  I find this review from the Powder River website to be dead on:

” The video is pretty good, but in several places the demonstrator is holding the gun out of the camera range. Also the focus goes in and out. It’s obvious that he has done this a number of times, he goes really fast. There are a couple of parts that could use more clarity. A few of the springs are hard to figure out just because the kit is not marked for what spring goes where. Most importantly, when reinstalling the grip safety, there is a little lever that needs to be put in the exact right spot and the video doesn’t really show where. I put my gun back together with the lever off somehow and had to force the gun apart because the trigger would not trip. I then moved the lever around until it felt free, he tells you how to check it by having the grip safety locked by moving the trigger bar. Great trigger now, 4 hours later.”

So be sure to have an open block of time before attempting this. Here’s a comparison of the old and new sear:

Old and New Sear (with spring)

Old and New Sear (with spring)

We re-tested the “before” weight with a calibration set of NRA certified Weights (always the most accurate way to measure). Previously we used a trigger pull gauge
but that is less accurate. We did take 3 measurements and averaged them to be as accurate as possible, but it appears that measurement was high, I had it listed at 6.5 pounds. When we measured again with the more accurate weight set, it tested at 5 3/4 pounds with the original sear.

NRA Certified Weights

NRA Certified Weights

You basically stack up weights until you can no longer pick up the stack with your trigger. Here’s the final test for my updated gun. Yes, I’m impressed by the simplest things:

Here’s a summary of the different trigger weights

  • Trigger weight before the spring kit: 8 lbs
  • Trigger weight after the spring kit: 5.75 lbs
  • Trigger weight after the sear replacement: 4.75 – 5 lbs
  • Trigger weigh of my S&W 1911: 3.25 lbs