P30 Thursday: Week Twenty-Nine

27-Nov-09 – 00:52 by ToddG

61,246 rounds
9 stoppages, 0 malfunctions, 3 parts breakages

Happy Thanksgiving! Exactly 2,500 rounds went through the P30 this week.


Recently, I was talking to firearms instructor David Blinder of Personal Defense Training about ways to help students achieve an optimal grip during the drawstroke. Around that same time, I had the opportunity to discuss the same issue with Ken Hackathorn. The result — combined with some photographs of my shooting grip that didn’t quite look right to me — was that I decided to start over from square one with my grip. This week, I finally had time to do exactly that.

The trick with the P30 is the slide release lever. It’s big enough to have its own zip code. Getting a grip that (a) locks my support wrist forward, (b) puts my support hand high on the gun, and (c) allows the slide to lock back properly requires some adjustment.

What is working for me: rather than trying to lock my support hand wrist before it comes to the gun, I bring my support hand index finger into position and then pivot my hand forward from that point. I then further bend my thumb down so that it is essentially resting at the bottom edge of the dustcover.

Essentially, I’m taking Ken Hackathorn’s tip about rotating the hand around the index finger and combining it with a variation of the grip that Scott Warren uses. I had actually been shooting the Warren grip earlier on during the test, but I guess over time I got lazy and it morphed into something less optimal.

The result, when I get it exactly right, is much better control over the gun. I was literally hitting a 3×5 card at seven yards as fast as I could pull the trigger without even trying to aim the followup shots. The gun simply isn’t moving off course enough to miss, even when hammering away. Of course, my draws and reloads have slowed down because I’m spending time consciously getting my grip right, but that should sort itself out in a matter of weeks. It’s the same “take one step backwards to take two steps forwards” approach that I constantly push on students. Is it an ego hit? Yeah. But long-term improvement is worth short-term embarrassment.

The other thing that helped guarantee the slidelock was changing to the Small (rather than Medium) backstrap on the pistol. That gets my strong hand a little farther forward, in turn pushing my support hand a little farther forward. It the palm of my support hand, not my strong hand thumb, that rides the lever and prevents slidelock. So getting my support hand palm in a better position makes all the difference in the world.


The gun also had some challenges this week related to ammunition. While the American Eagle 124gr TMJ is incredibly soft shooting (as reported previously), its performance in the reliability department leaves us wanting. This week, two rounds had such hard primers that they required three or four hammer strikes to fire. Leadfree primers are notoriously harder and also sensitive to cold temperatures. And then there was this interesting invention pictured at right, which appeared to be a deformed jacket that — based on weight — has no lead core inside.

And thanks to Editor Tom, this week the mystery asking how many pieces of 9mm brass fit in a 5-gallon bucket was answered: 8,000. So that means I need sixteen thousand pieces for HK before the SHOT Show. Now, I’m no mathematician, but since there are less than 14,000 rounds left to fire before we hit the magic 75,000 point, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.They may have to settle for a couple gallons less.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Previous P30 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:

  1. 12 Responses to “P30 Thursday: Week Twenty-Nine”

  2. Nice read, Todd. I also had a lot of problems with AE ammo during the summer. I shot 4 cases of 115gr and had all sorts of problems. My problems ranged from crimped brass, dented brass, light loads (almost causing a SQUIB – twice), you name it. I reached the point where I had to hand inspect each round prior to going to the range. I was glad to get through my AE stash.

    By gtmtnbiker98 on Nov 27, 2009

  3. Regarding the strange bullet – looking at it, it doesn´t have to be a bullet at all. See, bullet jackets are, as well as casings, made by a several-step stamping process, originating from a brass flat. The cup as seen in the picture is approximately halfway down the process if it is to become a jacket, or at the beginning in case of a case (that sounds funny, doesn´t it?). I´ve made a picture of some I digged in the toolbox right now (from Sellier&Bellot production) –


    Top three are future .45 jackets, lower one (You can see the thicker sidewall) would become a case (7.65 if I remamber correctly). If it fits in place of a 9mmm bullet, it is either a future jacket for bigger caliber or a case for a smaller one. What´s the interesting info – all the stamping in the production is done on one progressive machine, the resulting product is then sorted and delivered to another one where the lead core is fitted, then it goes to calibration and then to the final production line as a finished bullet for the ammo. That leaves us with several sorting procedures where this sample somewhat magically passed through/skipped them completely. QC of such a company certainly leaves something to be desired 😉

    By Lukas Koukal on Nov 27, 2009

  4. so they wanted 15 gallons of brass to spread around the floor or something? or was it a door prize for one lucky visitor each day.

    By Rob Engh on Nov 27, 2009

  5. Todd,

    Ok, you shoot this down previously, but I am going to give it one more shoot.

    After my last post, I compared the actual trigger group on the Glock G19 to the HK P30. To satisfy my own curiosity on the trigger and is role in the overall “ergonomics”.So I offer the follow up, to my previous thought.

    Notice that the trigger group on the Glock G19 is vertical and short. This allows for a trigger manipulation that is directly to the rear.

    The HK P30 trigger group in contrast is curved and long, and as a result the trigger manipulation is not the same. Notice on the USP match pistol that the trigger stop is located low to the rear of the trigger. This is the point which the shot breaks.

    The guys on the HK forum say the “hump” is to prevent gloves from catching under the trigger.


    By Walker on Nov 28, 2009

  6. The changes in grip that you described sound like what most competition guys are using. They hit the trigger guard with their index finger first and then roll the support hand into place. I’ve found that doing this helps me keep my support hand fingers lined up with (or parallel with) my strong hand fingers, which makes a big difference for me. I can then use the bend in my elbows to effectively lock my wrists if need be.

    By Eric on Nov 28, 2009

  7. Walker — both the Glock and HK triggers pivot around a pin. A true straight trigger, like on the 1911, definitely has some advantages but by now I think it should be clear that those advantages are small and often involve other hefty compromises.

    The explanation for the trough in the trigger guard is correct: it’s supposed to help with heavy gloves.

    By ToddG on Nov 28, 2009

  8. Apparently some of the manufacturers are having a little trouble keeping up with QC and volume at the same time. In the case of 9mm FMJ from a different major manufacturer that I just finished, I had 4-5 rounds with the primers inserted sideways.

    By John Frazer on Nov 28, 2009

  9. Todd: Would it be possible to get some pictures of your grip? Maybe a before and after?

    By Adam on Nov 30, 2009

  10. What is the orange bag behind the P30 in the picture? Is that one of your range bags?

    By Lance on Nov 30, 2009

  11. Adam — The grip thing is a work in progress. Once everything is dialed in and I don’t foresee more changes, I’ll post some pics if they’re worthwhile.

    Lance — Yes, that’s my primary range bag. It’s a Maxpedition Multi Purpose Bag.

    By ToddG on Dec 1, 2009

  12. I just reciently changed my grip as well. I saw a vid my Max Michelle(sp) and he mentioned focusing on the off hand index finger as a reverence point. One thing that I will mention is that I have gone entirely to front of slide manipulation for all sliderack/stoppage clearance/ect movements because it puts the hand in a more natural position to use the index finger on the trigger guard reference.

    The method I am using is to grasp slide deeply in the web between thumb and index finger while keeping the fingers basically straight with palm perpindicular to the slide and the thumb wraping around slide. Your opinion would be much appreciated.

    By Joel on Dec 4, 2009

  13. Long long ago, we used to use Round Nose .45ACP bullets that had most of the lead scraped out of the jacket to shoot rats at the dump. Little buggers would splatter. Often not enough recoil to function the 1911, but a stoppage with a hostile rat (four legged kind) looking at you isn’t much of a problem.

    By Don Meaker on Dec 5, 2009

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