Filthie's Mobile Fortress Of Solitude

Filthie's Mobile Fortress Of Solitude
Where Great Intelligence Goes To Be Insulted

Friday, 21 August 2015

Range Notes: The PDW

I have always loved the so-called 'PDW'... which, for you non-gun-geeks, is an acronym for Personal Defense Weapon. In essence these guns are short, snubby and designed to be portable and transportable and easily deployed by people in vehicles or extremely cramped spaces. The consensus on maximum intended range seems to be about 50 yards.

My personal favourite in this genre is the elusive HK MP7:
It seems to be more a new and improved Uzi more than anything else. They usually carry electronic holographic sights and it fires an oddball 4.6x30mm round that can supposedly defeat most common body armour. Why does a grumpy stubfart and gun club duffer like Yours Truly need a gun like this? Because fuck you, that's why! HAR HAR HAR!!! I just think they're cool and would be fun to play with at the range. There are a couple of problems with that, though:

a. HK does not sell their cooler guns to civilians (which is probably a good idea when it comes to angry and twisted guys like me). I actually DID see one of these for sale over on the Gunnutz once, years ago...and it was up for $13,000.00!

b. On top of that, ammo and reloadable brass could be a problem sadly I will probably never get to handle one of these. In a typically sour-grapes fashion I wrote this whole issue off and comforted myself with the thought that I have my hands FULL with my other guns which run from black powder to black rifles. Who needs another money pit?

A couple weeks ago I was goofing off down at the indoor range when the AR15 version of the PDW caught my eye. The damn thing looked so cool and I began to get the dreaded gun fever again. I dragged myself out of the store and angrily told myself to forget about it.

But I could not.

The next day I pushed my way into the store, pointed at the gun, and told the gun counter guy to shut up and take my money!!!

That's a Black Rain boutique rifle. It has a Zeiss 3x9 on it that will be replaced by a proper combat optic once I have found which ammo it likes to eat. My first efforts with it were absolutely dismal. I was shooting some heavy 77 grainers that I had made for a match gun years before and the little snubbie sprayed them all over hell's half acre. I set it down in disgust and said "I hate this gun!"

But being a science and technical guy bade me to act the part. The holy and hallowed Scientific Method must be followed!!! So I started buying different types of ammo to run through it. I bought some Fiocchi 55 grain factory loads - and the improvement was immediate and profound.

A called flyer that opened up the group to about 2-1/8". Not bad for a pocket rifle with a 7-1/2" barrel, eh? So I tried again, this time shooting off my hind feet:

I had to aim at the top of the paper to belly flop some of the rounds in the black - and got this group at 3-1/8".  3 in the black, two at 6 o'clock.

I have heard some of the self proclaimed gun gurus and experts grump that these things are really no better than pistols. They are better left in the hands of people who don't normally carry guns. Ordinarily I dismiss the gas bags out of hand...but unfortunately, sometimes the Scientific Method has to be applied to them too. My pistol is a Springfield Armoury National Match .45. (I think it is an overpriced shit house 1911 and I'm kicking myself now for not buying the Les Baer gun) - but whatever! The point is it is a pistol of average performance that any squaddie might pull from the armoury. Here is 5 shots fired off the bags with the caveat that I suck at bench rest shooting with pistols. (Come to think of it I suck at all other disciplines of marksmanship as well, HAR HAR HAR! Hey, Bub - this range report is worth exactly what you paid for it!). In any event, 5 shots, ammo is 200 gr. hand loaded JHP conicals:

Again, a called flyer opens that group up to about 6-1/2".  The rest are in about a 4" group, and I think accuracy would probably improve with the classic 230 gr. round nose bullets. I will try those later. Off the bags the PDW wins hands down.
Offhand, off my hind feet, 5 rounds again from the pistol at 50m:
Sorry for the crappy cell phone pics, BTW...all but one missed the paper - but you can see where they hit the wood. I estimate that group came in at around 5-1/2". I'm actually glad I did this - this pistol shoots dead on at 20m and if I do my part all the shots easily fall within the black bullseye. The PDW wins again, hands down.
The last word?
There is no denying the 'cool factor' of the PDW. Despite the accuracy...this gun is a world of fun to shoot! I know I'm doing it wrong, I know the other gun geeks will give me a wedgie and beat me up for it...but I just may leave the big Zeiss scope on it! It seems to like lighter bullets. Oh...and the muzzle blast. This is a rude little gun to shoot. You may think as I did that this would be a great gun for a youngster or the little lady. The ergonomics are great...but the muzzle blast on these guns will turn a novice into a flinching idiot. This is not a gun for the beginner. They will be better served by the classic M4 carbine or even the full length service rifle. As far as Black Rain Ordnance goes...? I don't buy into the hype and hoopla of boutique AR15's. Even Bubba can put them together in his basement and produce a functional gun. BUT - I have heard of people having reliability issues when building their own snubbies, and if they do something stupid and the gun fails or doesn't work - they're screwed. If I have problems with the gun I take it back, the dealer evaluates it and either gives me another one or the gun goes back to Black Rain for warranty work. At least I have back up. As far as the economics of building your own go...once you buy the tools and the parts you are pretty much up around the price of buying the gun from the factory. You would have to build a couple guns to make it pay and ignore the cost of your time. A lot of people like to say building your own is the way to go, and they have had success with it...but some have had problems too. That's just my assessment, your mileage may vary. I am a shooter and not a tinkerer, so I buy.
Shoot straight, keep those score cards honest - and we'll see ya at the range. Have a great weekend.

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