Well, that didn’t go as desired.
I have 2 guns: a S&W M&P Shield 9, and an NAA Guardian .32 ACP. The Shield was manifesting accuracy issues, the Guardian was a pawn-shop-find that needed some love. Both were sent back to their respective factories to be worked on. Both came back a couple weeks ago. I was finally able to take them to the range to see how things went.
Alas, I’m not happy with how things went.
I figured this was mostly about function checking, including accuracy checking. I’d want to run about 200-250 rounds through each gun, mostly target ammo but some self-defense ammo as well.
I was going to start with Claude Werner’s drill (2 mags with 5 rounds each; 1 round, 2 rounds, 3 rounds (including a reload), then 4 rounds; repeat at 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards). This would be good as there’s no timer, no pressure, done from ready position, and all about accuracy. So I could check out accuracy as well as basic function. If all went well, I’d shoot the Texas CHL test, which would do much of the same but adding in par times so a little more pressured use of the gun. That’d be 100 rounds of practice ammo. Then I’d use 20 rounds of self-defense ammo and do the “3 Seconds or Less” drill. Finally, I’d shoot another 50-100 rounds of just whatever I felt like doing, probably running the steel targets, including the 4″ flapper plate @ 25 yards.
I’d do this with each gun, and see how it went.
Alas, it didn’t.
Started with the Shield. Remember, it’s problem was accuracy. I couldn’t get it to group well, Karl couldn’t, Hank (gunsmith) couldn’t. Sent it back to S&W, supposedly all they did was “adjust the sights” (grr), but supposedly they did something because Hank’s testing upon its return and it was shooting better. Hank even showed me the target he produced at 10 yards.
So I started shooting. 3 yards was fine. 5 yards fine — but if there’s failure at this point that’s really bad. I did notice it was shooting high and a little to the left (e.g. 11 o’clock position). Hrm. I got to 15 and it was all over the place. Could it be me? I know I don’t suck THAT bad. But it was becoming difficult to tell. I tried more shooting of steel targets, flapper, etc.. I could get some hits, some not. It was getting difficult to tell if it was me or the gun, but for sure something is off with the gun — could just be sights. But for sure, something else seems amiss.
I ran some different ammo through, similar results.
So I bagged the gun, didn’t run through everything. Why waste ammo at this point? I’m going to have a couple other known good-shooters shoot it, see what happens. Depending how it goes with them, I’ll leave it for Karl to look at, and we’ll see from there. Something still doesn’t seem right.
Started with the same Werner drill. Even at 3 yards I noticed a slight right-bias to the hits. My feeling was, because of the gun’s miniscule size, I was pulling the gun right. This only magnified as I went further back, and things just got stupid at 10 yards. But what was interesting was the holes in the target didn’t always cut nice ragged holes — keyholing? Not sure.
I could go back to 25 yards and hit the flapper — if I worked at it. The sights are terrible and I had a VERY hard time seeing them. I’d also have to do a lot of work to prep the trigger — a straight pull-through was almost impossible, but if I could stage it right and ensure I had good sights, I could hit.
But even after target ammo and then some Buffalo Bore (the Barnes flavor), my hand was just hurting too much. Not so much from the recoil, but from being cramped and all the weird rubbing of the gun in the hand. It’s just awkward.
Functionally, I think the gun is in good shape compared to when I got it. NAA seems to have replaced almost everything in it, so I should expect it’d working well now. I just cannot be 100% sure of the accuracy part tho — between being hard to see the sights, then my hand just being raw, I bagged it. I only got about 150 rounds through the gun, but it at least ran.
So I feel that the gun is OK, it will just need some red paint on the front sight to help visibility, then some more trials for accuracy to ensure it’s good and any issues are just me.
At this point, I’m not pleased.
The Guardian I think is probably ok, but I just need more time to determine and have confidence that it’s as good as it’s going to get. That said, if I was pressed into needing it right now, I wouldn’t feel bad about it — just don’t ask me for shots beyond about 7 yards. 🙂
The Shield, I’m miffed. S&W gave no indication as to what was done, it seems like little was done, and it seems like the problem persists. And now it’s going to cost me more time and money to have to deal with this all over again.