Thursday, November 12, 2015

Springfield XD Mod. 2

I have to be honest, when the XD Mod. 2 came on the market I violated my own rule of not criticizing any pistol before I handled it.  Not that I have any qualms against the Springfield XD series but the "GRIP ZONE" embossing on the grips seemed a little patronizing to me.  Were people confusing the slide with the grip by grasping the slide and trying to fire bullets out of the magazine well?  Was Springfield trying to eliminate customer confusion?  While I was having fun at Springfield's expense I failed to recognize the well thought out modifications that they had made on this pistol.  

Let's start with the specifications and what is included in the case.  This XD Mod. 2 has a capacity of 16 rounds of 9mm, a four-inch barrel, is 7.3 inches in length, 5.5 inches high, weighs 27.5 ounces and is 1.2 inches wide at the grip.

The package includes 2 magazines, cleaning brush, cable lock, thermo-plastic molded holster, dual mag pouch and loading tool.  

Interestingly, the thermo-plastic items are imported from Israel.

Back in 2002 when Springfield brought this Croatian made pistol into the United States Glock did not have much competition.  The helped XD change that.  The XD line-up evolved with the advent of the XDM and the fantastic single stack iteration of the XDs.  Frankly, until someone asked for one I didn't realize that Springfield was still making the original XD pistol.  I couldn't imagine why anyone would want one after the XDM hit the market.  But they do still make them and they have just seen a major upgrade with the Mod. 2.  Let's review the changes:

The lines on the slide and the slide itself have been re-contoured and wider cocking serrations have been cut.  The slide is a tad slimmer than the original.  The trigger guard has been rounded and greatly under cut with the undercut widened and rounded into the subtle finger grooves on the grip.
The stippling on the grip is applied using two slight variations of the pattern.  The most aggressive pattern is on the front and back straps.  On the front sides of the grip where your finger tips will rest the pattern is a little less aggressive.  The re-contoured grip really worked well for me.  They were comfortable and the widened undercut on the trigger fit my middle finger well and allowed me to get a higher hold on the pistol which helped control muzzle flip.

The rear sight is a low profile 2-white dot wedge and the front sight contains my favorite red fiber optic pipe.
The red pipe really helps my 59 year old eyes find the front sight quickly and holds my focus.  It provides a great contrast with the rear sight to offer me a superior sight picture.

Although I did not measure the trigger pull it is good for a self-defense pistol and I would image that it is slightly under 5 pounds.  So...I like the feel, the sights and the trigger did it shoot.

Let's look at the targets.  All shooting was conducted with a two hand hold using Mag Tech 115 grain FMJ ammunition fired at 5.5 inch Birchwood Casey "Shoot-N-C" targets.

This target was fired at 75 feet with 30 rounds.  I am not a long distance pistol shot by any means but, as this is a 5.5 inch target, a humanoid assailant would have been continuously hit.

This target was fired at 30 feet with 20 rounds.  The pistol grouped well.  If this was my pistol I would would tap the rear sight a little to the right.

I think this target really speaks to the accuracy of the pistol.  This was the first five rounds out of the box at 21 feet.

One of the criticisms I have often heard about the XD line-up is that there are few available after-market accessories.  That might be true but the trigger pull is fine, I would not need to send the grip frame out to be thinned down or have the under-cut enlarged, and the sights are exactly the ones I want on my guns.  Unlike other manufacturer's polymer-framed pistols, there is nothing I would change on the XD Mod. 2.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

FNS 9mm Long Slide

Fabrique Nationale of Herstal, Belgium has been a major manufacturer of firearms since 1889.  In that year they were tasked by the Belgium government to produce 150,000 Mauser Model 89 rifles.  Over the next 20 or so years they collaborated with John Moses Browning to produce various versions of his legendary designs for the European market.  They also are saddled with the unfortunate distinction of having produced weapons for both the Nazis and the Allied powers during World War II.  They began the conflict by manufacturing firearms for the Allies and then for the Nazis after the German Army overran Belgium.

The subject of this review is the FNS 9 Long Slide chambered in 9 X 19mm.  In my subjective opinion it is a handsome pistol with sleek lines running across the slide and front & rear cocking serrations intersecting those lines in attractive diagonal patterns.  The only thing that could make this pistol more attractive would be an aluminum, instead of polymer, frame and nicely figured wood grips.  Even without these enhancements I must say that the pistol fit my hand very well and felt like a natural extension of my hand and arm.  The FNS 9 LS comes with three 17 round magazines making it both a great competition and home defense handgun.  The dimensions of the pistols are: 

  • An overall length of 8.25 inches 
  • A height of 5.5 inches
  • A width of 1.35 inches at the top of the slide and a width of 1.5 inches at the bottom of the grip.
This makes concealed carry not impossible, but a tad bit impractical.

The FNS 9 is a striker fired, double action pistol with the aforementioned black checkered polymer frame.

While I am not usually a fan of three-dot white sights I must say that the this pistol's sights are the most utilitarian with which I have ever worked.  The rear sight is spaciously cut allowing the shooter to quickly and easily pick-up the front dot.

The FNS 9 Long Slide comes with a cold hammer forged 5 inch stainless steel barrel and weighs in at 26.5 ounces.  My specimen had a 7 pound 2 ounce trigger pull with minimal creep and a crisp let off.  

The FNS 9 is produced with four passive safeties including:

  1. A trigger pull safety with prevents the pistol from firing unless the trigger is pulled.
  2. A firing pin safety that prevents the striker from being launched into the cartridge primer without the trigger being pulled.
  3. A drop safety with prevents the sear from releasing the striker unless the trigger is pulled.
  4. An out-of-battery safety which won't release the striker unless the slide is fully seated in the forward position.
When I asked about the FNS 9 LS the owner stated, "Boy, there are championships to be won with this pistol".  I thought this was odd for a couple of reasons.  First of all, he called me "boy" and I have at least a good 15 or 20 years on him.  Secondly, he didn't specify what kind of championships.  

The championship will likely not be a bullseye competition.  While other print and online reviews of this pistol touted it's accuracy my experience with it was a tad less than average rather than exceptional.  

Rounds Fired At 21 Feet

Here are 18 rounds of Mag Tech 115 grain FMJ ammo fired at 21 feet.  Not bad, but not up to the accuracy of my regular or long slide Walther PPQ, Glock 19 or either my CZ 75 full or compact size.

Speer 124 grain hollow point ammo faired better at 21 feet. 

However, Federal Hydra Shok ammo opened up a little further.

Further Shots Down Range

The Mag Tech ammo at only 30 feet begin to open up even further with most clustered low and to the left.

At a mere 40 feet the pistol's groups open up even further.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall I did not attempt to roll targets out to 50 or 75 feet as it was clear that I wasn't going to be happy with the results.

I do not know if this is a part of the reason for the less-than stellar accuracy but the slide-to-barrel can only be described as "loose".

With no manual safety to slow the shooter down and the fast acquisition sights this pistol would be fine for home defense or action sport competitions. In both instances the shooter is facing humanoid targets (either real or of the paper variety) at short to moderate distances without the need for pinpoint accuracy.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Workplace Safety--Establishing an Effective Violence Prevention Program

My book is being published on November 15th, just in time for all of your gift giving needs.  It makes the perfect stocking-stuffer.  It can be pre-ordered from the publisher, Barnes and Noble and

Workplace Safety: Establishing an Effective Violence Prevention Program

Workplace Safety: Establishing an Effective Violence Prevention Program

by Randall W. FerrisDaniel Murphy
Workplace Safety: Establishing an Effective Violence Prevention Program includes a powerful model on how to overcome organizational rationalization, objection, and denial when confronted with proposing a workplace violence protection program. 
The book offers real-life cases studies on how violence was successfully avoided using the book’s

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ruger 10/22 Collector's Series Second Edition

Ruger, of late, has certainly become a very prolific firearms manufacturer.  New model designs with a variety of caliber choices in just about all of their catalogued lines has kept Ruger's manufacturing plants very busy and has kept the shooters scratching their heads trying to figure out which new model(s) to purchase.  

Back in the olden days before smart watches, streaming video and Uber, I was a lad and you only had a choice of two models, the standard and the deluxe.  The deluxe model had better wood, checkering on the pistol grip and fore-stock and no band around the barrel and fore-end   Most of us kids back then coveted the standard model because of the barrel band.  It made it very M-1 Carbine-esque.  Ruger has come a long way since then as their website now lists 22 different models of the 10/22. 

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the venerable 10/22 rifle and Ruger released a 50th anniversary collector's edition.  2015 marks the release of Ruger's Collector's Series Second Edition.

Upon seeing this second edition your eyes will focus on two parts.  The first is the dark gray composite stock and the second is the sighting system.
Up front is a wing-protected, non-glare sight with a ghost ring adjustable aperture sight at the rear.  These sights are designed for fast target acquisition  and, with the adjustable aperture, you can dial the sights in for your favorite 22 Long Rifle brand and load.  No squirrel, jack rabbit, rodent, aluminum can or paper target will ever be safe again!

On the aft end of the firearm is Ruger's modular stock system which allows you change the comb from the standard hight  to a raised comb which raises your line of sight if an optic is mounted on the picatinny rail.

Ruger has also stamped the Ruger Collector's Series markings on the bolt.

As with all Ruger 10/22's the Collector's Series Second Edition comes with a standard 10 round rotary magazine.
The rotary design has been a hit with Ruger for 51 years because it work and works well.  With quality ammunition the 10/22 is amazingly reliable.  But, as good as the 10 round rotary mags are, you may want to stock up on some higher capacity magazines before the zombie apocalypse begins and the hi-cap mags become scarce.  Well, you are in luck as the rifle's box will also contain a $25 gift certificate and that will get you most of the way to a high capacity magazine.

But wait...there's more!
The box will also contain a Ruger lapel pin, a reproduction of an early magazine ad and a limited editions Ruger street sign.

Ruger 10/22's are easy shooting and easy packing rifles that can go just about anywhere and provide reliability, accuracy and fun.  Everyone should own at least three  10/22s:

  1. The first one you received as a kid
  2. The one you upgraded to for hunting or more serious target work
  3. A collector's edition (or two, or three, or more)
You probably already have the first two and now it's time to add the second collector's edition to your battery.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Guns of Disneyland

There are those in the left-wing progressive camp that would love to extinguish firearms from our culture and expunge any mention of them from our historical records despite the fact that without them this country would not exist.  Yes, firearms have been used by both the good guys and the bad guys but if they were taken away the bad guys would commit mayhem with something else.  Julius Caesar and the legions of Rome conquered most of the known world with spears and short swords. 

People have always needed weapons for the self protection of their tribe, state, nation or themselves and history has shown us that the most tyrannical regimes on earth have always been able to exploit a population that is unarmed.    Spears and short swords were state of the art weapons technology in Caesar's time and today firearms represent the current evolution of weaponry.  Weapons, in one form or another, have been used by the members of ancient tribes, nations and individual citizens since the dawning of the human race.

The left-wing progressives prefer to move toward their stilted version of an enlightened society where there are no firearms nor any mention of them in historical studies.  Their efforts have resulted in misguided gun control legislation that has no effect of violent crime.  Their impact has also been strongly felt in the toy industry.  Trying to find a toy firearm in a lot of retail chains across the county is akin to finding the preverbal needle in a haystack.  Toy manufacturers have faced terrible pressure to cease or at least greatly decrease their manufacture.  My generation grew up reenacting the old west frontier with duels at high noon in the driveway or playing Army and pretending to oust the Nazi's from our backyards.  And we did this with plastic armaments from Mattel.  They gave us authentic Winchesters and Colt Peacemakers for the kiddie cowboys and realistic Thompson submachine guns and M16 rifles for those of us who chose to pretend that they were in 20th century conflict.  As far as I can tell our generation, who played with these realistic toys, turned out very few mass murders compared to recent times.  And as far as I can recollect no mass murderer has ever been a member of the National Rifle Association.  I haven't fully researched that last statement but I am sure if one had been the news media would have blasted that information across the stratosphere to the point where I could not have missed it.

So, if you want to visit a place which still remembers that guns were used in our history's past and still sells toy guns then maybe you should visit the happiest place on earth: Disneyland!  Disneyland has a plethora of firearms that are used on attractions as well as replica toy firearms for sale to the general public.

Upon first arriving at Disneyland and entering Main Street you will see a cannon situated in the town square.  Main Street is designed to capture the essence of small town America as the 19th century morphed into the 20th century.  It was very common in those days for the town square to have a cannon to memorialize the town's members who fought and possibly died in battle.  In fact, in the Broadway musical "The Music Man" as the Wells Fargo wagon approaches River City, Iowa the townsfolk gather in their town square and sing about what they think or hope might be on the wagon.  The members of the school board who have been transformed into a barbershop quartet harmonize that "The D.A.R has sent a cannon for the Court House Square".  

When Disneyland was first built their imagineers fanned out across the globe to find artifacts that were needed like an old wooden carousel, vintage vehicles and a cannon.  This one was found in France and brought over to Disneyland.

If you head up Main Street and take a left at the hub you will be headed into Adventureland.  After passing the Tiki Room the first attraction you will come to is the Jungle Cruise.  Onboard the boat the skipper keeps a revolver nearby.

The skipper uses the revolver to scare away a hippo that seems bent on attacking the boat.  This is an actual nickel-plated Smith & Wesson revolver with a plugged barrel.  The lanyard was added about 20 years after the ride debuted because a couple of them were stolen from the boats.  The attachment of the lanyard is pretty ingenious.  The revolvers have square butts on them and whoever attached the lanyard put round butt grips on the revolver and then drilled out a hole at the bottom of the now exposed portion of the grip frame.  

After leaving the Jungle Cruise you head further away from Main Street and find yourself in New Orleans Square.  There you will find the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.  Inside you will find that many buckles get swashed and there is a fair amount of cannon fire as Captain Barbosa directs the the fire from the Black Pearl
and drunken pirates take potshots at each other in the coastal town they are raiding:

As with all Disney attractions you exit them through a gift shop and the Pirates of the Caribbean shop contained a veritable battery of arms to equip your pirate crew.

There were stores of Winchester repeating rifles because didn't all pirates use the gun that won the west?  There were also plenty of pistols in the battery as well.

There were small caliber double-barreled/doubled-hammered flintlock pistols as well as a brace of larger caliber single barreled flintlocks.

As you leave the gift shop and head toward the Rivers of America you might spy the mighty sailing ship Columbia.

As of yet, no one has pressured Disney to remove the  cannons 

which is a pretty good thing as occasionally at night Captain Hook takes charge of the Columbia and does battle with Peter Pan.

Continuing deeper into New Orleans Square you run smack dab into the Haunted Mansion.

And even in this stately abode you will find portraits of two men, the ghosts of whom appear in the painting and show us that the two men died in a duel.

Doubling back through New Orleans Square you take the left fork in the road and venture into Frontierland.  Here you'll find firearms that you can actually shoot or at least shoot laser versions at the Frontierland Shooting Gallery.

These are very realistic Hawken percussion-cap styled rifles with iron sights and, aside from the laser, give you a pretty good shooting experience and are a ton of fun as well.

Venturing into the local mercantile establishments you can find all the shootin' irons needed for your venture into the wild frontier.

This Western Ranger Deluxe Set gives you a Winchester rifle with realistic sounds and a shoulder stock for easier targeting!  You also get a Colt Revolver a large tin star badge and a red bandana because you just can't be a real cowboy without a red bandana. Or, you might want to go old school with a percussion cap revolving rifle.

As my niece shows us this is an old Spanish made variant with  break-top access for reloading and a double set of hammers that fire through one barrel.  Perhaps Ian from Forgotten Weapons can provide some insight on this apparently rare specimen.

There are also six-shooters of different varieties such as this large caliber revolver complete with a skeleton speed holster
and smaller caliber revolvers like this one which I would guess is in .22 short.

I also noticed a couple of large bore lever action rifles behind the counter, probably chambered in 50-90 for taking buffalo.

Heading out of Frontierland, you go across Fantasyland (which is false advertising because my fantasies are not represented there) and find yourself in Tomorrowland.

There you will be asked to help Buzz Lightyear defeat Emperor Zurg by flying double passenger space crafts while firing laser weapons.

You can also go on Star Tours where you will come face-to-face with Darth Vader and a horde of Storm Troopers with their blasters aimed right at your space shuttle.

But fear not for the shops are full of the advanced weaponry you will need for the future that awaits you.

You can purchase an official Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Blaster to help defeat Zurg.  In fact, you can also purchase Zurg's blaster which features a built in power generator and this one goes to ...

For facing off against the Empire you have several choices.  First you can purchase a Stormtrooper's blaster.

Or you can select the blaster of the galaxy's most famous bounty hunter which comes complete with a detachable shoulder stock.

You can even get Chewbacca's Bowcaster.

And lastly, you can pick up the ultra rare Broom-handle Mauser with a fire extinguisher nozzle attached as used by Hans Solo.

I find it interesting that Disneyland sits in center of one of the most liberal, left wing, politically correct states in the country and yet they still show firearms in their historical context (with the exception of the blasters) and offer more toy guns for sale than you are going to find at your local Target, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, or Toys-R-US stores.  I applaud them for it because no one has anything to fear from history (except repeating historical mistakes if they didn't learn anything from the first go-round) and no one has anything to fear from children playing at whatever their imagination conjures up.