*** Editor's Note: This is the first guest post by Athor Pel. Enjoy.***
I didn't grow up with lots of guns in the house and no pistols at all other than air guns. We didn't have the money for it and my Dad didn't hunt anyway. So as I was growing up the only exposure I had to guns outside of what my Dad owned, long guns all, was to read about them. And about all I read was Guns and Ammo. It was all I had. No internet back then.
The first pistol I ever fired was my uncle's .22 magnum revolver in my teens and I didn't hit a thing. That we were using shot shells probably didn't help. But I did learn something, it's harder to hit stuff with a pistol.
I was an adult and well into my thirties before I owned my first pistol. In shooting it I found that yes, I was still a terrible shot with a pistol. This was a little discouraging. Shooting long guns all my life meant that I was used to being able to hit my point of aim or at least get very close to it. Having a short sight radius makes a huge difference.
I did get somewhat better in time but I'm still not anywhere close to an accomplished shooter with a pistol, auto or revolver. This article is about what I have learned, about pistols and about myself. For all those with much more trigger time, this article really isn't for you. That's the background.
I own pistols in most of the popular pistol calibers. I can't remember whether the first one I purchased was the Browing Hi-Power in 9mm or the Berreta Model 96 in .40 S&W. I bought them both new. I've put more rounds through the Hi-Power and I've had more problems with it too. As I explain things you will see me come to many false conclusions.
The Hi-Power would reliably have a failure to extract a fired case toward the end of the second magazine within one shooting session. It would have seemingly random failures to feed as well.
My first thought was that the chamber was too rough and that roughness was retarding the extraction of the case. I ran some emery cloth over the chamber walls and the feed ramp with finger pressure only, didn't even change the appearance of the tool marks. I thank God I didn't get too serous about this 'fix'. Oh my the ignorance.
My second thought was that the extractor spring wasn't strong enough. I was so certain of it that I bought another spring though I have yet to install it. My immediate next thought was that it was the main spring. I did replace that. It didn't really change anything.
After a few more boxes of ammo and more time I found about limp wristing and yes, I had been limp wristing. For those that don't know, for a semi-auto pistol to cycle reliably it needs a firm foundation. Simply, the shooter needs to strongly grip the pistol and actively resist the recoil. After learning this my failures to extract or feed went down in number but did not stop.
After more reading and more shooting I began to think it was my mags. They were factory 10 round magazines with a very rough finish on them. I thought the finish had to be something of a factor and sure enough it was. My proof came after I bought some aftermarket magazines. I got some shiny new 13 round Mec-Gars, they had a very smooth finish. I had been wanting to replace the legally mandated 10 round mags for some time since the Hi-Power was originally designed with 13 rounders.
I loaded up the new mags, put one in the pistol and proceeded to fire all 13 rounds without a failure. I then did the same with the next mag and the next and next. All four mags shot without a problem. It was like a new gun.
What you've read condensed here in one narrative literally took me years to live through. It wasn't the chamber roughness, it wasn't the extractor spring, it wasn't the main spring, it was my limp wristing and the crappy factory magazines.
Bottom line, that bum pistol that just doesn't work like you think it ought to, it might not be the pistol, it might be you.. or your magazines.
***Editor's Note 2: We should applaud Athor's courage for confessing publicly to limp wristing. Lots of guys have done it when they were younger and didn't know any better. Don't judge. He probably didn't even like it. And obviously the moral to the story is... Dad's... if you don't keep guns in your house and teach your kids to shoot correctly... you may raise a limp wrister. Don't raise a limp wrister. ***