10 stoppages, 0 malfunctions, 5 parts breakages
As promised, this week allowed for lots of range time; I didn’t waste the opportunity. And it’s been a crazy week with the P30. A small piece of the frame sheared off, the gun still fired another 3,000+ rounds without a hiccup, and the pistol turned in some record-setting numbers on the F.A.S.T. drill.
At about 86,000 rounds, I noticed the trigger pull on the pistol felt different. It was stacking a lot and became very stagey.
While the gun continued to fire properly, the trigger pull was odd enough that I decided to field strip the gun. I discovered a little sliver of material sitting atop the trigger return spring (see photo at right; click on the image to see a larger version). It was just lying there loose inside the gun. It affected the trigger pull simply because it was adding uneven resistance and catching as the spring rolled across its surface. The piece fell out as soon as I turned the frame upside down. It appeared to be a sliver of steel encased in polymer. Looking the gun over, I immediately saw that this was a small piece of the frame itself which had sheared off.
As you can see from this picture (left; click on image for a larger version), the sliver is actually a small piece of the internal steel skeleton of the pistol’s frame. That particular area has to deal with a lot of abuse. It gets extremely hot, especially during the high volume rapid fire I’m doing. In six practice sessions so far this month, for example, I’ve averaged more than 350 rounds per hour for 3-5 hours straight. The piece that broke off rests right up against the barrel breech block, so it has to absorb a tremendous amount of heat not just as the gun fires, but while it is at rest. The same area also gets battered in recoil as the barrel torques and the slide stop halts the barrel’s rearward movement. Oh, and I hadn’t cleaned the gun in 9,000 rounds previous.
In fact, the gun has fired more than three thousand rounds without a stoppage so far. I didn’t even bother to clean the gun until today, so those rounds got tagged on to the previous 9,000 since the last time the gun saw maintenance.
The trigger pull still feels the same. Point of impact has not shifted. A quick offhand accuracy test turned in 3″ groups at 25yd, so accuracy doesn’t appear to be affected. I’ve even let a few other folks shoot the gun and no one noticed anything unusual about it. I’ve examined the frame, slide, and barrel very closely and cannot see any signs of additional wear or damage forming.
So the test will continue with the gun as is. And I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’m still using it as my carry gun every day. What can I say? It still works and I have complete faith in it. Faith that is proving well founded, because…
I broke my personal F.A.S.T. record. Twice. On the same day. After the little piece of frame sheared off.
- 4.13 (clean): 1.38, .34 / 1.79 / .21, .20, .21
- 4.08 (clean): 1.37, .35 / 1.76 / .20, .20, .20
- 4.05 (-1H/-1B): 1.35, .34 / 1.76 / .21, .20, .19
I went completely off the reservation on the third run. But let’s not talk about that…
My speed on the low-probability shots continues to improve, thanks in large part to the great LEM trigger. I find the longer, rolling trigger pull helps avoid the minor anticipation glitches than can really hamper fine accuracy at speed. A number of folks shot this P30 over the past week and for most of them it was their first time with the LEM. On the first few shots, the response is always “the trigger is really weird.” By the time they’ve put a couple magazines through the gun, though, there is universal appreciation for the way it works. I’ve watched folks pick up the unfamiliar P30 with its unfamiliar LEM trigger system and immediately turn in better accuracy than they were getting with their own striker-fired or single action pistols.
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been working a lot on hitting small targets quickly as preparation for the Speed Kills class coming up next week. Using the target pictured on the right (click the image to get a full size .pdf) I run six drills, one per circle.
- One full magazine (15rd) of slow, deliberate, single shots from the holster. The goal is to do a perfect, precise press-out (see also Acceleration drill).
- Another magazine of single shots from the holster, but now with a PAR time. Due to the target system I use, my PAR for this string is 2.75 seconds.
- A third magazine of 1-shot draws, but now with a 1.75 PAR.
- Moving to the bottom row, first I shoot a magazine of 2-shot draws (I top off my magazine so I have an even number, 15+1, in the gun when I start). As with the first circle, there is no time limit and the goal is to do everything as perfectly and precisely as possible.
- Another magazine (+1) of 2-shot draws, but with a PAR time of 2.75 seconds.
- Finally, a magazine of 3-shot draws at the same 2.75 second PAR.
Obviously, as the time limits drop, my accuracy starts to suffer. Presently, I’m landing about 2/3 of my shots inside the circle on segments 3 and 6. I’m shooting this drill at seven yards from concealment. My advice is to find a distance at which you can reliably get your hits when going slow, and then work on bringing your speed up to meet the PAR times. Once you’re easily managing the timed portion with near 100% hits, add a yard or two to the distance.
I’ll add this to the Drills page once I think of a good name for it. If anyone has an idea, free pistol-training.com hat to the winning name!
This weekend is Sacramento’s Aim Fast, Hit Fast class and of course the P30 test gun will be there for all the demos. Four days of travel will cut into the week’s shooting, but we’ll see if we can’t eek out at least a couple thousand rounds before the next P30 Thursday.
Train hard & stay safe! ToddG
Previous P30 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:
- Week Thirty-Nine
- Week Thirty-Eight
- P30 Update 20-Feb-10
- Week Thirty-Four
- Week Thirty-Three
- Week Thirty-Two
- Week Thirty-One
- Week Thirty
- Week Twenty-Nine
- Week Twenty-Eight
- Week Twenty-Seven
- Week Twenty-Six
- Week Twenty-Five
- Week Twenty-Four
- Week Twenty-Three
- Week Twenty-Two
- Week Twenty-One
- Week Twenty
- Week Nineteen
- Week Seventeen
- Week Sixteen
- Week Fifteen
- Week Fourteen
- Week Thirteen
- Week Twelve
- Week Eleven
- Week Ten
- Week Nine
- Week Eight
- Week Seven
- Week Six
- Week Five
- Week Four
- Week Three
- Week Two
- Week One
- Initial Report