9mm or 38 Super?? What to get for IDPA competition

Discussion in 'Competition 1911's' started by OlympicFox, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. OlympicFox

    OlympicFox Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Decisions, decisions. I've been wracking my brain for a long time about what gun to get for IDPA competition in the ESP Division. Sure, I could use my S&W M&P 40L; it's fast & fits the hand well, but it's also boring shooting the same gun in different divisions, especially a black polymer gun. So, in the interim I've been shooting my Sig P226 Elite Stainless 40S&W. I'm getting better and better with the DA/SA trigger, but it's still about 20 seconds slower in the Classifier than the M&P. At least it is really good looking! :thumb: CZ makes a potential contender, but I hate spending $1100 on a $600 gun that's still a $600 gun afterwards. So, that brings me to the 1911.

    The question of the moment is: which is better for competition - specifically IDPA ESP - 9mm or 38 Super? And why?
  2. extremist

    extremist COTEP0278

    Nov 5, 2011
    9mm rules, because the ammo is cheap. Even if you reload like I do, unless you have unlimited 38 Super brass at your disposal, it is going to cost you more to get started and if you are like me, at most matches I shoot it is a pain (and at sanctioned matches, they are "lost brass" matches) to get your brass back.

    I shoot IDPA with my Wilson Combat combo guns (CQB and ULC) 9mm barrel and then switch to shooting 38 Super at my local Steel matches because at the Steel matches, everyone helps pick up your brass so you don't lose any (at least at my club).

    If you don't care about money and it's no object, THEN I would shoot 38 Super because, it's cool, theoretically more reliable since the cartridge length is the same as the 1911 was designed for (1.25-1.26 OAL) and if you reload, you can make a very mild load that easily makes 125 PF for IDPA.



    R0CKETMAN NRA member Supporting Addict

    Dec 24, 2011
    If ESP and 1911 then 38super because I think it's going to run better. You can bulk buy or reload ammo so that shouldn't be a concern.

    If your going to run a 1911, why not go cdp?
  4. OlympicFox

    OlympicFox Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    I do reload & appreciate the availability of cheap 9mm brass. However, 1000 cases of Starline 38 Super is $126, which works out to about $25 worth of lost brass at a sanctioned match. The guys at my local club are quite good about getting the brass back to a shooter, so it's only an issue at the sanctioned matches. Since I live on the west coast, there are only a handful of sanctioned matches available, so that's only 3 matches a year unless target getting to one of the big east coast matches.

    But, given the choice between reliability and spending say an extra $100 a year for lost brass, I'll vote for the most reliable I can get. And yes, the cool factor is not to be ignored either!! :thumb:

    I haven't decided on which gun to get yet, although I'm leaning towards Springfield. I'm waiting for a response from their custom shop RE building what I have in mind. I'm very pleased with my Trophy Match. At $1300, it wasn't an inexpensive 1911, but IMHO it runs with guns costing quite a bit more. Plus, SA seems to be much more willing to work with a goofy customer making his gun what he wants it to be vs. other makers that offer a very short list of options.

    It would be nice to have a two-barrel set-up so I could shoot 9mm when that made sense and 38 Super when I was more concerned about the reliability. OTOH, I did a similar thing with a Sig P226 a while back. It served as the home defense gun with 357-SIG and in IDPA SSP with 40S&W (200gr @ 647fps - VERY soft shooting). Except, that this old fart occasionally forgot to put the 40 caliber barrel into the gun before a match and discovered it at the line when it wouldn't go into battery with 40S&W trying fit into the 357 barrel.

    Anyway, your response was exactly what I was looking for. Hopefully, SA will respond favorably to building one.

  5. OlympicFox

    OlympicFox Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    My customized Springfield 1911-A1 Trophy Match is already my CDP gun, and I am very pleased with it.

    I've thought about using it in ESP and halfway developed a 230gr 45ACP load that walks top the target at a mere 560 fps, making a competitive 128,700 power factor. While it shoots reliably in testing, gettting slide lock on an empty mag isn't so reliable although that should improve with softer recoil springs. I am concerned about its ability to stay reliable during the course of a 200-round sanctioned match as the gun gets dirty. It's also sluggish and susceptible to any technique errors, such as getting my weak hand thumb touching the slide or limp-wristing which I sometimes do when shooting single-handed.

  6. dl645pro

    dl645pro dl645pro

    Dec 27, 2011
    I've had very good luck with my 9mm 1911s from Kimber. The only real catch was finding out what magazines they liked. For me, the Wilson Combat ETMs have been rock solid. Shot a 9mm Kimber Pro at the 2010 Michigan IDPA State match and not a single hiccup the entire match. Since it was a lost brass match, I just shot Blazer aluminum instead of the usual reloads.
  7. OlympicFox

    OlympicFox Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Thanks everyone.

    I've spent months thinking and re-thinking (aka "Mind Dancing") about the whole issue of the best ESP gun for me.

    The contenders:

    S&W M&P 9 Pro: I bought an M&P 40L last year. After fitting it with an Apex Comp-AEK trigger kit, RAM and extractor it pretty much runs like the wind. Plus it's as reliable as a rock, fits my hand like a glove and is comfortable to shoot (not the same thing). I'm roughly 20 seconds faster with my M&P in the IDPA Classifier than with anything else. The down side is that I already have an M&P, while exceptionally nice looking for a polymer gun, it's still a polymer gun, and the trigger is still crappy even if only 2.6#.

    Sig X-5 Tactical. I really like Sig's. They feel great in the hand and they're comfortable to shoot. Ordinary Sig's are more accurate than most guns and the X-5 is an extraordinary Sig. The X-5 has an excellent SAO trigger. Unfortunately, the Tactical X-5 needs some trimming of the beaver tail to fit in the IDPA box and it's basic boring black. So, it would have to go off to Bruce Gray for some work in the beavertail which would require refinishing. That would give me a chance to upgrade the appearance, but it also adds $$ to the cost of the gun, putting the finished gun something north of $2000.

    1911's. As we all know, there's a huge range of 1911's; from sub-$1000 production Kimber's, S&W's and Springfield's to semi-custom Wilson Combat CQB's and Springfield Custom Shop. If only Ed Brown made a 9mm, but he rarely does that so I was narrowing it down to an STI or a Wilson Combat. The wife said I could get an STI now or wait a while and get a Wilson Combat. :hail:

    So . . . I was actually planning on pulling the trigger on an STI Sentry today, but then I thought long and hard about how my practice session went with my Springfield yesterday.

    My Springfield 1911-A1 is the "Trophy Match" which is essentially the target version of the TRP - an excellent 1911. I recently got the gun back from Springfield Custom Shop with a bobtail and new barrel. The gun is extremely tight and almost scary accurate. Yesterday I shot a 1" group at 15 yards standing unsupported. Last week I shot a 8-round 1.5" group at 25 yards supported but not on a rest. It's 100% reliable running either of my two IDPA loads (168PF & 129PF, running 15# & 11# springs respectively). What it is not is natural to me. Even after months of practice, I'm still not consistent with how I manage the thumb safety. Every once in a while I find myself flicking it off when I'm still in the 'grab' stage of the draw (not good ever) or maybe I forget entirely and the damn thing won't go bang. :mad2: The result is that I'm finding myself concentrating on gun manipulation instead of the actual shooting. When I got home, I strapped on my M&P and even though I hadn't shot it since early November I was in sync with it on my draws and target acquisition in less than 5 minutes.

    So, I decided that as cool as 1911's are and as nice as the better ones are, the reality is that I can shoot an M&P better.

    So, I logged onto Bud's last night, ordered the M&P 9 Pro, six extra 17-round mags, 5 extra 10-round mags for matches in stupid places like California, magwell, grip tape and & trigger parts. Next, I went out to the barn and loaded a few hundred 9mm cases in to my cleaner so I'll have a bunch of ammo ready when the gun arrives later in the week. I might dress it up by polishing the slide. :thumb:

    About ammo at lost brass matches . . .

    I don't know about you, but I really shooting my handloads a lot better than factory ammo. My 200gr 647 fps 40 S&W load is a dream to shoot. Makes power factor with ease, it's very accurate and it is sooooo soft shooting this old fart is back on target in a heartbeat. My brass is segregated into 3 groups: new Starline, once-fired (either military surplus or my personal once-fired factory brass), and the rest. All the ammo I take to sanctioned matches or any match that might be a lost brass match is loaded in my oldest brass. As a result, the cost is very close to inexpensive factory ammo but I like shooting my stuff a lot better.
  8. 50GI-Jess

    50GI-Jess Member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Unless you're planning to use the same gun for different divisions, which more and more IDPA competitors seem to do these days, then I would stick to the 1911. Face it! The 1911 design has been tho most winning concept in modern day action type pistol shooting for a reason, and since this model dominates both CDP and ESP, used by some of the best shooters in the world, that speaks for itself too.
    Your thumb safety problems, just cooks down to lack of practice, which easily could be overcome over time.
    IDPA # A00003
  9. OlympicFox

    OlympicFox Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011

    Not meaning to pick an argument with one of the old-timers of the sport . . . but, I risk it anyway with my point of view and note that I'm not alone.

    Let me start with a couple of quotes:

    Gun Nuts Media, March 1, 2010

    Massad Ayoob

    Nope, I'm not one of those that uses the same gun for several divisions. Frankly, I find that too boring and fortunately my finances allow for several guns. OTOH, I definitely recognize the value of shooting very similar guns in different divisions which is why I struggled with the decision to use the M&P platform in SSP & ESP or the 1911 platform in ESP & CDP. Obviously, I could shoot an M&P in CDP also, but that would be way too boring. I'll stick with the 1911 in CDP.

    IMHO, there are four reasons why the 1911 was the most winning concept in modern day action type pistol shooting, especially IDPA:

    1. The 1911 has been around since forever. It was the defacto standard. But, then so were sealed beam headlights for 50 years. My point is that just because it's been around forever or that it's a favorite of some of the best shooters doesn't mean that it's the best gun for the job.

    2. The founders of IDPA were (and still are) 1911 aficionados. Can you imagine Bill Wilson showing up with a Glock 34? Neither can I. The CDP Division was designed around the 1911. As a result the 1911 had a guaranteed playground where it could dominate the competition. Almost. We shouldn't ignore the fact that when a Sig with a DAO trigger beat the 1911's at the Nationals, IDPA HQ changed the rules to outlaw the Sig.

    3. The trigger on a good 1911 is hard if not impossible to beat. OTOH, just how important is a trigger that breaks like glass in action pistol shooting? Not very, as the polymer guns are demonstrating.

    3. 1911's are cool. No matter what, no polymer gun will ever have the cool factor of a 1911. The 1911 just reeks of class and money. Ego has a role in what guns we buy, and the 1911 speaks loud and clear to the ego. Show up at a local match with a Glock 34, M&P 9 Pro or XDm 5.25 and no one notices. Show up with a semi-custom 1911 and everyone notices.

    4. Several manufacturer's have been building performance 1911's for competition since before I can remember. Before Gaston Glock shook the world with his polymer 9mm. I remember the horror of it all - a plastic gun. It was 16 years before Glock introduced the G34 - probably the first polymer pistol designed to be a competition pistol. It was another 10 years before S&W countered with the M&P 9 Pro & Springfield didn't bring the XD(m) 5.25 to market until just last year as I recall.

    Only one of the above 4 reasons has anything to do with a 1911 being a better gun, and as I mentioned the magnificent trigger of the 1911 isn't all that important in combat shooting.

    Since the concept of polymer pistols as genuine competition pistols is quite new, it's obvious that the rock stars of the sport would be shooting 1911s at least until the polymer pistols started proving that they were capable of winning. As long as the 1911's won, the best shooters would gravitate to the 1911 platform. Since the best shooters are running 1911's the 1911 wins. But is it the best or fastest?

    Apparently not. Last year all three of the polymer guns whupped the 1911s at their own game. Even the XD(m) that's had the least development time beat the best 1911.

    As for popularity . . . no contest.

    So, while I'll agree with you that if I practiced enough, I could crack the thumb safety nut and do well with my 1911. But why? How long would it be before I never gave a second thought to thumbing off the safety. As long as that issues enters my consciousness, it's a distraction that don't have to futz with when shooting my M&P.

    And since I shoot an M&P in SSP, carry Kahr's for CCW, use DA/SA Sigs & S&W's for home defense, range and even competition, I'll never escape the thumb safety issue.

    So, since it's my goal to do as well as I possibly can in IDPA ESP division, the logical decision is to build an M&P dedicated to ESP. I'll continue to shoot my 1911 & in time I'm sure I'll get pretty decent at it. Even so, there's no doubt in my military mind that I'll always be significantly faster with the M&P than the 1911.

    That won't keep me from buying that Ed Brown I've been drooling over, though.

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  10. BuckyP

    BuckyP Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2011
    I see that a decision has been made. Still, I'd like to comment on the original question. I have well over 10,000 rounds through 3 different 9mm 1911s. Prior to that, I've put WELL over 10 times that through various 1911s (both traditional single stacks and wide bodies). If money spent on ammo / brass is not an issue, then the .38 super is FAR superior to a single stack 9mm 1911. The reason I've gone through three 9mms is I have yet to find one that will run 100% in the rigors of action pistol shooting when using 10 round magazines. Sure, none of them had issues with traditional range shooting.

    The #1 problem with the 9mm 1911 is the slide lock reload. Because of the tapered round, there is a gap in the front of the magazine between the top round and the round that sits below it. Because of this space, there is very little preventing the round from nose diving. It is further aggravated by the fact that the shorter round has more room either for or aft in the larger magazine well, requiring a spacer in the magazine. Put the spacer in the front, and the round needs to travel further before contacting the ramp. Place the spacer in the rear, then the slide picks up more momentum, before contacting the round.

    Now if all goes well, it is not usually a problem. When I've seen this issue occur is typically when the magazine is seated harder than normal, which is not uncommon under the pressures of competition and "the clock". I've tried to get one 100%, stepping up to a higher end gun each time. The reason being, as stated above super brass is $126. For me, 9mm brass is free! Penny wise and pound foolish, perhaps, as the amount of time and funds could have went into buying brass at this point. My setup now is pretty good, but I will still get the occasional slide lock nose dive. Good enough for local stuff, but would never take it to a match beyond that.

    One take away, the Springfield / Rob Leatham 9mm magazines seem to be the cure for this slide lock dilemma from my experiences. However, these are 9 round magazines which defeats the purpose for my intentions. If I wanted 9 rounds, I'd stick with my ultra reliable .40 single stack.

    My 2 cents, and a little rant. :wink:
  11. 50GI-Jess

    50GI-Jess Member

    Aug 24, 2011

    Yes i love 1911's, and love S&W revolvers even more. Interesting post from you and very well written. I've been in this game for nearly 30 yrs, and I have come to believe, that it's the man...and NOT the gun that shoots well.
    All world class shooters have one thing in commen, and that is a ton of practice. Leatham, Sevigny, Vogel etc, will beat anybody with a Ruger P-85, after 10 min. of practice with it. That should say it all.
    Up until Sevigny came around in 98-99, nobody in the competitive world thought anything serious of Glocks performing alongside tricked out 1911's. He changed all that in a couple of years. That has now carried over into all the other plastic/service type pistols.
    When I shot a glock for the first time back in 84 or 85, I said that model would newer see a IPSC match, but sure nice to have in the middle of the jungle in South America. And look now, who doesn't own a Glock or 2.
    IDPA was created to sell more guns and give less competitive oriented folks a chance in combat type pistol games. Now it has evolved into something more dynamic over the years, which is good for the whole sport. The more guys like us, the longer the "real" American spirit will survive.

    "It's the man not the gun" Everything else is just choices and opinions.
  12. OlympicFox

    OlympicFox Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bucky –

    Thanks for your great explanation of the how’s & why’s of the reliability differences between the 9mm & 38 Super. I’ve known for some time that there was a problem, but didn’t understand why. Being technically oriented, I appreciate understanding why these things happen.

    I experienced this exact issue with my Sig P226R last July in the middle of my first classifier. I had just installed Sig’s 9mm Caliber X-Change Kit on my 40S&W pistol – seemed like a no-brainer to me. The gun tested OK the day before but started having minor hiccups in the Stage 1, but it went all to hell in Stage 2 when at least 3 rounds tumbled in the mag. The good news is that when I called Sig the next day about the jam, they noted how Kit was actually designed for the 22LR frame, but didn’t run reliably on the 40S&W frame. Sig didn’t offer a detailed explanation of why, but they did offer to buy back the Caliber X-Change Kit so that foray into 9mm was short, but not costly beyond what I lost selling the virtually new 9mm mags.

    Now I fully understand why this occurred with my Sig and why 38 Super runs better in 1911’s than 9mm.

    The cost of 38 Super brass vs. 9mm brass is minor IF one is able to always recover their brass. However, running 4-5 lost brass matches a year adds another $10/month. That doesn’t seem like much money, but it’s those $10 here and $10 there that add up. The other ammo issue is that sometimes it’s necessary to buy factory ammo. Not only is 9mm less expensive, it’s also far easier to find. The bottom line for me is that while 38 Super is the obvious choice for reliability reasons, that choice does have financial costs as well as acquisition challenges, especially when traveling (we travel by RV, sometimes for months).

    I can relate to the desire for 10-round mags instead of 9 rounds. It seems like a no-brainer to go for capacity. But, then I was talking with our IDPA Area Coordinator last weekend on this whole issue and he commented that many shooters preferred the 9-round mags because they frequently for slide-lock reloads at more convenient times during the typical IDPA stage. Probably a result of some of the artificial structuring of IDPA stages to be revolver friendly, etc.

    The more I researched small bore 1911’s the more I realized that life would be much easier with a gun that ran 9mm natively.
  13. OlympicFox

    OlympicFox Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Jess –

    Don’t get me wrong, I love 1911’s too. They are beautiful, especially the premium 1911's, they can be blazing fast, etc., as well as a lasting testament to the genius of John Moses Browning. While I carried 1911-A1s for roughly 25 years and I qualified Expert with my service weapon consistently, I’m new to the modern enhanced 1911’s, which are much nicer, BTW.

    For many, many years we shot the pistol strictly from the bench like it was nothing more than a chunky target pistol. We didn't start to shooting from the holster shortly before I retired, but even then it was a par time scenario with more than enough time available. IDPA is far more challenging.

    Before I bought my SA, I researched the field as thoroughly as possible given the invariably kind words every gun reviewer seems to have for whatever their shooting. I wanted a 1911 with:

    1. A reputation for quality. Several choices here: Colt, Kimber, S&W, Springfield, STI.
    2. Good looking but without the kind of styling/marketing overhead of Kimber. SA was the winner with an obvious emphasis on performance with only token effort given to appearance finish.
    3. Competition oriented. STI was the clear leader with SA not far behind.
    4. Flexible and extensive custom shop services. SA was the clear winner.
    5. Reasonable price ($1000-1500)
    6. Brand name recognition for resale value. Colt is the winner, while STI is a non-starter outside of competition circles.

    The Springfield Trophy Match is essentially the target version of the well-respected TRP. All the performance details are there, with very little effort (if any?) given to appearance. The machined edges are raw, there is no evidence of any melting, the “brushed” stainless slide looks crude, and the checkering is so aggressive and unfinished it almost draws blood. There’s no excuse for dropping this gun! But, it shoots like the best of them. Some quality time with my sander and files took care of the rough edges, and SA installed an Ed Brown bobtail eliminating my #1 comfort gripe with 1911s. At least the beavertail & thumb safety are nicely rounded and well blended – something I couldn’t say about my more expensive Dan Wesson.

    No polymer gun ever looked this good, or ever will.

    As for revolvers? Well, I do enjoy my S&W 686, like many I enjoy more competition than is typically available in SSR. Besides, my trigger finger runs out of gas before I run out of targets.

    You are absolutely correct. I have no doubt that any of the Distinguished Masters with any box-stock pistol can easily best an Everyday Joe with the a Unlimited USPSA race gun. However, it’s been my experience that guys at the top also have the best equipment available. For example, we raced a sailboat in SF Bay for decades. Our experience and skill made us one of the boats to beat, but we also put in substantial effort to make sure that our boats was more than merely competitive.

    The whole world believed that you could shoot a DAO or DA/SA gun faster than you could shoot a 1911 with a thumb safety until Jeff Cooper proved otherwise. OK, so Col. Cooper and a handful of others can do that, but was before the striker-fired hotrods came on the scene.

    In other words, if we gave David Olhasso an NYPD-spec M&P 45 to shoot at the 2012 IDPA National’s, I’d wager that one of the other Masters would beat him.

    Yep, all of those guys practice, practice, practice. Everyday. However, most of us, myself included, find family, financial and logistic challenges that make weekly practice about as good as it gets. Since I’ve been retired since 1993, I’ve left out career conflict, but I’ll toss in age with all of its repercussions such as slower reaction time, declining physical strength & agility, failing eyesight. My reality includes having children that complain about their arthritis.

    My shooting goals are simple, but still challenging consider what I'm working with:

    • Don't shoot anyone that didn't richly deserve it.
    • Classify Expert in SSP & ESP. CDP? In my dreams, yes. Revolvers? Not even in my dreams.
    • Shoot at Expert level in sanctioned matches for a few years
    • Classify in 5 guns

    “Life is too short for an ugly gun” is one of my expressions. While the M&P will never have the classy look of a 1911, at least it’s attractive compared to a Glock! :biggrin1: The new Gen 4 Glock seems to have gained on the ergonomic advantages of the M&P, but it’s still too ugly to live in my gun safe, much less shoot in public. :pound:

    A very interesting take on the intended purpose of IDPA. Having an MBA, I don’t find this surprising, however I haven’t heard it said out loud before. Naturally, this explains why we have a CDP division and why HQ, aka the Wilson's are so protective of the 1911 platform. I wouldn’t be surprised a bit if the changes resulting from the Tiger Teams include changing CDP rules to outlaw striker-fired pistols. Say, by requiring that pistols in CDP start in Condition One. FYI, I would support that change, provided they changed SSP to require true traditional DAO or DA/SA triggers. Let the striker-fired pistols duke it out in their own division, such as ESP.

    In other words, my take on what IDPA Divisions should look like:

    SSP – Any trigger type, minimum trigger pull of 6#, no external mods; max 43 oz. Similar to the current SSP division but no striker-fired pistols and real-world service pistol trigger weights.

    SSP Limited – true DAO or DA/SA trigger; minimum trigger pull of 6#; no external mods, max weight 43 oz (no reason to outlaw stock CZ’s or all stainless Sig’s, etc);

    ESP – Any trigger type, minimum trigger pull of 3.5#, magwells with OD no wider than 1.25 magazine width. In other words, magwells similar to standard 1911 magwells are OK but competition style magwells are not – this is supposed to be a concealed carry oriented sport, isn’t it.

    CDP – Pistols in CDP start in Condition One (requires a manual safety), 45 ACP. Polymer guns and 3rd Gen S&Ws with thumb safeties are OK, but must engage the safety. Min trigger pull 3.5# as a concession to the premium 1911’s); max 8-round mag. Note that SAO is not required, just a manual safety that must be used anytime the pistol is holstered. This gives the edge to 1911’s (and Sig P220 SAOs) but leaves the door open for 3rd Gen S&Ws, and others that have manual safeties.

    CCW – Pistols & revolvers with 3.6” barrels MAX. Single stack required. Any trigger type; min trigger pull 6#; 6-round magazines, min power factor: 80,000 using the shooter’s gun (9mm-centric, but also allows for 38 SPL and hot 380’s). In other words, this division is for pistols/revolvers that are optimized for CCW, not merely compact versions of standard pistols. Obvious choices include Kahr K9 & PM9, Ruger LC9, Ruger LCR, Sig P232 & P238, S&W snubbies, SA EMP’s and even Kimber Ultras.

    SSR/ESR – I understand the difference between these divisions, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough participation to justify both.

    BUG – Pistols and revolvers with 3.0” barrels MAX, single stack, Any trigger type; min trigger pull 6#; 5-round magazines, min power factor: 60,000 (380 friendly). ​

    IMHO, IDPA made a token gesture of putting the BUG in the book, and then generally ignores it. Just like IDPA ignores the vast population of folks that buy small CCW guns.

    The more guys like us, the longer the "real" American spirit will survive.​

    We’re certainly on the same page there!
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  14. BuckyP

    BuckyP Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2011
    At many of the ranges I shoot at, a 70% return on brass would be fairly good at a local IPSC match. Berms with bushes and sometimes sticker bushes downright consume brass. Add a dozen or so "lost brass" matches, and consumption is higher than one might suspect. Working part time for a range, I get all the 9mm I take the time to pick up.

    I've seen enough 11 round stages to know that you can really get screwed with a 9+1 gun. I've seen these at state level matches. I've seen 10 round stages at nationals with two narrow pieces of steel that had to be shot and was very glad I was shooting a 10+1 gun that day. The day of the 9 round gun as an advantage has passed IMO. And if I did want to shoot a 9+1 gun, my .40 is more reliable and just as accurate (and just as soft shooting with the right reloads).

    Also, a 10+1 gun is ideal for USPSA single stack. I've seen enough matches where the 10+1 minor is an advantage over the 8+1 major.

    That's certainly the conclusion I've come up with.

    BTW: See you mentioned Dave Olhasso on a couple occasions. FWIW, I've been shooting with Dave for 14 years now. I actually showed him the ropes in the beginning. He won his first IDPA Nationals with an XD .45 before switching to the M&P the following year.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  15. Eppie

    Eppie New Member

    Feb 22, 2012
    At the risk of making a fool of myself on the 1911 forum, I will make a quick comment. Polymer pistols, in my opinion, have a slight advantage because they are lighter and easier to bring to a stop when switching targets simply because of the difference in mass. Heavier pistols absorb more recoil because of that mass, but with a 9mm round there is less recoil anyway. In physics there is no free lunch it's all a matter of trade offs and it seems to me that at IDPA matches competitors spend more seconds switching from target to target than actually shooting. However, the 1911 are way cooler looking.

    Just a personal observation from a spectator not a competitor.

    Kindest regards
  16. OlympicFox

    OlympicFox Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Not even close to a foolish observation.

    Yes, lighter pistols, whether polymer, alloy-framed or simply shorter barreled versions, can transition from target to target more quickly. OTOH, besides absorbing more of the recoil, the heavier pistol also provides a steadier platform for both long-distance shots as well as double-taps.

    IMHO, which works best depends on the skill level, the preference of the shooter, as well as the Course of Fire.

    Not counting stages that require significant movement between shots, I'm not sure I spend more time moving the gun from target to target than I do acquiring the desired sight picture and firing the shot. Time spent moving the gun from target to target seems to be fixed, while time spent getting that sight picture and pressing the trigger is variable depending on the degree of difficulty of the shot.

    For example, a few months ago I shot an IDPA Classifier with both my S&W M&P 40L (27.4oz empty) and my Sig P226 Elite Stainless (43.0oz empty). Both guns are 40 caliber and shoot the exact same ammo. In addition to being significantly lighter, the M&P had a 2.7# competition trigger while the Sig had a traditional DA/SA with a 7.0/3.7# trigger pull. Yet, I was only 1.04 seconds slower with the Sig on Stage 1 - all 7 stages combined.

    Yes, 1911's can be cooler looking, but simply being a 1911 doesn't guarantee that's it's cool looking or shoots worth squat. IMHO, a plain-Jane black 1911 with black plastic grips is no more cool looking than a polymer gun with nice lines (ie M&P). OTOH, a tastefully dressed 1911 can knock your eyes out.


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