Shooting USA – Smith & Wesson Defensive Pistol Nationals
This time, it’s a carnival of fun at Smith & Wesson as the stages of fire get even more creative. It’s IDPA competition at the Indoor Nationals. Plus, the transition from muzzle loading to the metallic cartridge for the U.S. Army. The Trapdoor is one of History’s Guns. Then, we’re inside the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s depot discovering Army history and building up M1 Garands that could be for you.
IDPA Indoor Nationals
The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) governs the shooting sport that uses practical equipment in self-defense scenarios. More often than not, IDPA competitions will have an overall theme, and this year at the Indoor National Championship, match directors decorated courses of fire to resemble a carnival. Competitors are tested in gun handling skills and defensive positioning under the “Big Top” at the Smith & Wesson ranges in Massachusetts.
“Every year we look at it and we think how can they do anything any better, and somehow they manage to make the match bigger, better, the props are more exciting,” says IDPA’s Executive Director Joyce Wilson. “I mean, it’s a carnival this year. It’s a real carnival.”
IDPA welcomes shooters of all skill levels and with firearms that fall under several divisions. Competitors may shoot revolvers or full-size semi-auto pistols throughout the match, or even carry guns. The IDPA created a new division called “Compact Carry Pistol” that now opens the door to those who would like to compete with the gun they carry every day.
History’s Guns: Trapdoor Springfield
As the world transitioned from muzzle-loading rifles to the self-contained black powder cartridge, the U.S. Army had a problem. There were too many Springfield Rifle Muskets left over from the Civil War, and there was no use for the soon-to-be obsolete rifle. So, Springfield Armory’s Master Armorer Erskine Allin came up with a solution. Allin cut open the barrel at the breech and inserted a hinged loading system leading the way to the Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield.
“It’s simplicity in itself. You just load through the Trapdoor. That’s where it gets its name. Put a cartridge in. Close it, cock it and you’re ready to fire,” says Firearms Historian Garry James.
Inside the CMP: the M1 Garand
The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s mission is to promote marksmanship and sell surplus Army firearms. The CMP is authorized by Congress to sell direct to the public, without a local gun dealer. The hot commodity is the M1 Garand but not necessarily the Garand as first assembled at the Springfield Armory half a century ago. Today, skilled armorers work daily to re-assemble the historic firearms and ship them to civilian buyers.
“It’s a great investment. You buy one today, and five years from now, there’s no telling what it’s going to be worth,” says Armorer Jerry Shealy. “I even like them myself. I sure do. I think it’s a great gun, enjoyable to work on.”
BLACKHAWK! TECGRIP Holster
There’s a new take on an existing holster design from BLACKHAWK!. The TECGRIP holster is a small inside-the-pocket holster for carry guns, but it uses and outer material with microscopic fingers that creates grip. The TECGRIP works well in the pocket, in a backpack, or briefcase. The design is fully ambidextrous. It also keeps dust and debris out of your firearm. Sizes are available for all of the popular semi-autos as well as revolvers based on barrel length.
Smith & Wesson M&P CORE in 9mm with Threaded Barrel
The newest member of the Smith & Wesson M&P pistol family is the CORE in 9mm with a threaded barrel. The CORE designation means the slide has been relived and tapped to accept red dots as well as a tall front and rear sight combination so you can co-witness. The 4 ¼-inch threaded barrel comes with a thread protector over the ½’’ x 28-2A threads, perfect for many of the popular suppressors out there. The Smith & Wesson M&P CORE threaded in 9mm is $825.
Speed Loaders for Revolvers: Stair-Stepped Speed Strip
Speed loaders for revolvers can be bulky to pack around, but here’s the better idea: the Stair Stepped Speed Strip. It holds five or six rounds that only come out when you pull sideways to release the rounds in the chamber. Plus, the rounds won’t fall out of the strips in your pocket. That’s the big improvement. There are two choices, 38-357, and an eight-round version for .22. The Speed-Strips are not widely distributed yet, but they are in the Shooting USA online store, a package of three for $16 plus shipping.
Pro Tip: SFC Jeff Holguin – Best Shotgun Chokes for the Range & for a Hunt
Your shotgun came with chokes. So it would probably help your shooting if you knew what each one could do. Sergeant Jeff Holguin of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Shotgun Team explains how to choose chokes to bag more birds, and break more clays.
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NRA Membership Offer: Jim Pays $10 when you join the NRA through the Shooting USA website.