Thursday, March 17, 2011

IPSC Equipment: Are You Considering Getting An Open Gun?

If you've been following along you will have noted that my first IPSC firearm was a 9mm Glock 17, which meant that I shot in the Production division. This is no doubt a very competitive class, but for me I hankered to compete in the Open division.

This has always been the case; when I paraglided competitively I couldn't stay in the Intermediate Glider division, I had to "upgrade" to the Competition Gliders. They were faster, with a better glide ratio, but they also were much more temperamental, requiring constant pilot input. 

The same can be said of my foray into superbiking. I had to compete at the top, despite being beaten by better riders, with lessor bikes. It's something about wanting to have, and use, the "best equipment" that the sport has to offer; even if the downsides could have a detrimental affect on your performance.

So, as per usual, I very rapidly changed my focus to that of the Open Division. If you have a similar disposition, then there are a few considerations. I wanted a 9mm Major, primarily because of the brass issue. I had a 9mm, and my focus was 9mm. My reloading efforts were going to be 9mm.

I was more than happy to entertain a used Race Gun, and was prepared to compromise on what I wanted, but only if the price was right (Remember: Value = Benefit - Cost). I figured, you had to factor in the cost of compromising (the cost of used, the added cost of additional reloading equipment, the cost of brass, the loss of warranties). If there wasn't significant fat left over, then I figured it was far better to buy new. Which is what I did; I acquired a brand new STI Trubor.

Is it everything I expected? Yes and no. The obvious difference between Production and Open firearms is that Production guns work straight out of the box, at a fraction of the cost. Hell, my Glock 17 would work, come rain or shine. Not so, with the Trubor; and at the price this can really piss you off. Yes, it has the potential to be a nice gun, but it takes tweaking, and you learn the hard way. It's the usual; there is no information available to prepare you.

As a precursor, take a look at the video, which are snippets from the Phoenix competition.


Three problems are obvious; blockages (stovepipes), C-More shuffling and magazine seating problems.

The blockages have now largely been cured by replacing the stock extractor with an Aftec competition unit, but it is still early days. Would I have expected this from a competition unit? No. I expected it to work, but now it comes to light that "everybody" changes their extractors. This is a cost that you won't budget for. (For those polymath types that want to point out that I need to use Major ammo, I know and I do).

Additionally; I say largely cured, because every now and then I still get a blockage. I suspect I may eventually resort to remounting the optics on the side, so as to clear the ejector port completely. Also an unbudgeted expense.

The C-More shuffle; this is a tendency for the uninitiated to lose the red dot, which happens to me now and again. I suspect I will get better at it.

The magazine seating; Canada restricts its magazines to 10 rounds, which means you have to peg your higher capacity magazines. In the STI's case, this means that there is a metal block inserted. The problem is the block is slightly too long, which means the 10th round is so tight that when you seat the magazine it does not want to clip in, requiring a little extra violence. To cure this problem requires that you machine the metal block ever so slightly, to allow for a little give, which then allows for easier seating. A hassle for sure, and also an effort that you will not bargain on.

Next; don't expect your Race Gun to come equipped with a large Mag Release button, it doesn't. So expect to upgrade this too.

Now, after you have factored in all the additional expenses, hassles and lost time, you might find your Value equation has shifted somewhat.

Personally, in hindsight, a used firearm may be a better bet, given that the previous owner might have sorted out all these glitches. If not, move on, and always ask for a test fire.

As for new, don't expect to receive any advice, you won't get any. The decision to go to Open class is like any other sport; it is assumed that you know what you are doing, which invariably isn't the case. In my case, I have been lucky to have the help of an Open contestant, who uses a 9mm Major, otherwise "cognitive dissonance" might have been the order of the day.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...