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Shopping List

Here’s my shopping list for the next year, which includes my first actual purchases.

(I live in Cali, which doesn’t allow us much in the way of “impulse” or “on sale” shopping opportunities – so I need to have a strategy, at least in the begining, so I don’t make any mis-steps - if I buy that little mouse gun now because I want to play with it and shoot some .22, I might just miss the chance to buy the gun I REALLY want when it comes in next week. For the same reason I have been making full deposits on guns I want to make sure they are still in stock when the 30 day wait period has expired and I can process more paperwork. By next year I should have a good basic set of “essential pistols” and can take my time and branch out.)

My original shopping list = one (1) classic 1911, nothing else.

But, when I went to the gun store intending to buy my 1911 –even placing a deposit on a Kimber CDP – I actually ended up changing to an HK Compact USP .45 when I went back to fill out the paperwork. In the week between deposit and paperwork, I had been reading up on 1911’s and got worried about reliability “out of the box.” Even with Kimbers.

So here is my revised shopping list plus my last two actual purchases:

1. HK Compact USP .45. Actually purchased in December. It’s been out a long time; it’s a modern design from a reputable manufacturer; it had the additional safety features I wanted at the time; it’s been reliable and is appealing for its light recoil in a compact form factor. It has a decocker AND a safety (you flip the decocker lever up and it prevents trigger release in both DA and SA modes, and also prevents racking the slide). You have to really think about it to put it in active shooting condition, which is good news/bad news, probably more bad news than good. The hammer is bobbed and can’t be thumb cocked without racking the slide back a little to put the hammer in half-cock, which is just too much to do in a home defense situation. The other negative is that it has only an 8 round capacity in the magazine, which is kind of disappointly considering the much smaller Glock 30 has the full legal limit of 10. I didn’t think much of it at the time, since I was oriented to 1911’s with 7 round capacity, but now I wish it took the full legal limit of available rounds. (Plus, the gunshop recommends not forcing in that last round, for reliability and spring life reasons.) Finally, it’s an awkard in-between size – it isn’t a full sized (5” barrel) pistol, and it isn’t really very compact.

2. FN9 – paid and paperwork being processed as I type, for pick up next week. I got this because the Springfield Mil-Spec I finally decided to buy, a couple of weeks later, was gone. I was still Glock-phobic at that point, and the ergonomics of the FN9 were close to those of my friend’s Sig, but at a lot more reasonable price (Sig has HK fever – prices sky high right now.) The recoil on 9mm is so light compared to the .45 – it might not be much for family defense, but it is good for range practice.

3. XD .45 5” full-sized (the – ugh - “Tactical” model). Full deposit, but have to wait until the 28th to actually purchase and process Cali paperwork. Still unable to decide on a 1911, the XD is going to substitute, for a while, as my full size, “classic” .45 for range use – although it doesn’t have the wonderful history of the 1911, hasn’t been proven in battle, and it’s main claim to fame is use by the Croatian police department. :) I guess if they ever lift the ban on extended capacity magazines in Cali, this will be a good home defense pistol, but since it doesn’t have a slide safety, would be stored un-chambered.

4. Glock 36 (.45, the “slimline” baby Glock) – on order with $75 deposit, since it isn’t a “stock” item at my local gun store. It is single stack with only a 6 round capacity (5 if I don’t force in that last round). I was going to get the Glock 30 first, but my friend got one and lets me share it at the range, so I figured I would get this variant first, instead. It’s one of the smallest, lightest .45’s available, with a great reputation for reliable feeding. Internet reports on the 36 are mixed – many love it for its slimness, lightness, and reliability, others complain about harsh recoil (it is 5 ounces lighter than the 36 although it has a longer handgrip) and the low magazine capacity (Springfield is smart with their “convertible” XD’s that take short and long magazines). I will probably add a NY1 trigger spring to it, to increase the trigger pull to 8 pounds for safety, since the tradeoff in accuracy is probably not a big deal in a pistol so tailored to short range, limited defense.

5. Glock 30 (.45, “baby” Glock) – full deposit at gun store, in stock and they are holding it for me. This is a great sub-compact and surprises me by also being such a fun “range gun.” It is accurate and easy to point. The grip is a little fat, my only concern, and there are rumors of an SF (slimmer grip) to be announced at the SHOT show – but by the time it is Cali approved, that would be next year, and I’d rather not wait or deal with the uncertainty. My friend got one, and although it kicks more than expected (a lot more than the HK or a 1911) and the sharp grip checkering “bites” my hand, it is the most fun to shoot so far. I call it the “mouse gun that roars.” I will get this before the Glock 36, if the 36 hasn’t arrived by the time it’s ready to process my paperwork.

6. Glock 21 SF (.45, full sized, but with the new “reduced grip size” designed to compete with the XD). No deposit, not ordered – the gun store said it will be a stock item once it becomes available. It is on the DOJ approved list, but apparently not shipping or in short supply. They have a full sized 21, but I am willing to wait for the SF, particularly since the XD .45 has replaced the 21 as my “full sized” .45. The Glock 21 remains appealing because it is a nice size – 4.5 inch barrel in-between a Government and Commander, with a very low weight – about 25 ounces, 7 less than the XD. I would probably change to Sprinco springs to get the least possible recoil – Sprinco makes a “2-in-1” spring design similar to the design in the full size HK .45, and might change to a Lone Wolf barrel.

Finally, the gun forum members have been waiting for me to get,

7. 1911, 5”. I am giving first attention to a Springer GI or Mil-Spec due to Springfield’s reputation for customer service and the simpler, inertial based, firing pin safety. (The other makers all seem to use Series 80 or similar firing pin blocks). The Kimber Custom II remains very tempting since it is a relative bargain, much nicer in appearance than the Mil-Spec, with plain rubber grips and a Commander style hammer and improved grip safety) – but Kimber’s customer service has a bad reputation, and there are enough reports of hiccups with Kimbers to make excellent customer service important to me. Springfield’s in-house custom shop is a big plus, too, for quick and cheap “tune-ups” and basic reliability mods and sight swaps. Finally, Auto Ordance is priced like GI but already has a lowered ejection port; but smiths seem reluctant to work on them even the Kahr manufactured ones. Made in America is appealing though.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed my shopping list, and interested in your thoughts and recommendations, particularly on choice of “classic 1911.”

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