Let me first define how I see myself as a newbie.
You may have seen a couple of other threads I've started regarding the purchase of two different pistols. I've been shooting most of my life, but up untill recently it has been limited to long guns and revolvers. I've been away from shooting regularly for a few years and have recently re-discovered the joy. I wanted to try out auto loaders and purchased a Ruger Mark II target model, way to much fun. I realized quickly that I "needed"
to get a larger caliber for the full effect. This forum had considerable influence on the caliber I chose, .45acp. Fortunately I've got a friend who owns many .45s, different models and configuration, who went to the range with me and let me have the mother of all tests. He had a few that he would be willing to sell (so he could buy other stuff) if I was interested. After shooting an HK USP, I fell in love. It is a full size model, and he would rather have the compact, so I bought his and he bought a compact the same day. I shot less than a full box of ammo through it that day, so yesterday my waiting period was up and I picked up the gun, I took it to the range and shot 500 rounds through it.
Shooting a tactical weapon is very foriegn to me. I feel like I need to learn to shoot all over again as the technique is so different than what I'm used to. So this range report will be a bit different than you guys that are splitting hairs over very subtle changes in ammo or sights. So if you're at that level, sit back, read the report with a sideways smile and chuckle. But if you're new to autos as I am this might be good info as to what to expect.
I started the day at 15 yards, standing position. I put in some good shots, but fell prey to the rookie/revolver mistake of limp wristing. My friend came with me and was able to observe as well as offer advice. I was also shooting next to an NRA instructor who was very helpful, and seemed to be glad to do it. So I spent a good part of the morning trying to get the right amount of push/pull pressure on the gun. At first my shots went all over the target, but after some practice my consistency came back. Eventually I was able to get some groups in under 5 inches, and by the end of the morning I had very few fliers (but still to many) For reference I was shooting my Mark II consistently in groups half that size, but I think that was because you can get away with a "revolver style" of shooting on that gun, which I was doing. On a side note I got a chance to fire my friends brand new USP compact for comparison. My results were identical, and the trigger felt the same. Again if I was more consistent, maybe I'd be able to tell a difference, but I'm not there yet. I like the larger frame in my hand, as well as the extra capacity, but then I'm not concerned with this being a concealed carry or even a home defense until I become more familiar with it ( I'll stick with my trusty revolvers for now, I know how to use them!)
In the afternoon I decieded to try the 25 yard range, standing position to see what I could do and the effect of the longer distance. My groups were tight enough at 15 yards that after a few magazines it was hard to see what I was shooting. I was using shot-n-see targets and I really dig them for instant feedback. Well 25 yards sure spread my groups out big time. I was lucky to get half the shots in the 8 inch center, And the fliers were all over the place. I had already been shooting quite awhile, and I think I was getting tired as I was shaking a bit. My friend came over to watch me and was able to point out how my form was all wrong again. My hands were allright and I wasn't limp wristing, but my arms were not correct, and niether was my trigger pull. He had me fire a few magazines through the empty target next to mine into the hill, so I could just concentrate on form and not worry about results. Guess what? when I went back to shooting at my target I was able to hold steady and start bringing the group in. Seems you guys that have been doing this awhile know a few things. There is so much to remember, and each time I would shoot I'd get at least one part of my form wrong and I would be reminded to do it correctly. I'm a LONG way from it being second nature, but if I do a mental checklist before the first shot I was starting to get it right. By the end of the afternoon most of my shots were in the 8 inch center, by the last round I fired 24 shots and 23 of them were in 8 inches. I was really happy with that for the day.
All in all, I'm really happy with this gun. It fits me and functions easily. Right now the improvements need to be done to the shooter. Part of the fun I'm having is being so green and not knowing, every improvement I make on my style results in large improvements. In less than 8 hours and 500 rounds, my first to last targets look like two different people were shooting. I don't expect the same increase in results the next time I go out as I'm no longer at the bottom of the learning curve, but I hope to keep heading in that direction. I'm already looking forward to trying some rapid fire, but I still need to get the basics solid in my head. Any tips are always welcome as I'm trying to approach this humbly so I can learn as quick as possible, the first thing I learned is that I don't know that much and I've already benefitted from listening to people that do.
Oh, did I mention that I'm having a blast?