After shooting a few matches now, I've come to the conclusion that I need something other than my little S&W 3913. Don't get me wrong, I do love the little thing, but, it's just that, little. It only has a 3 3/8" barrel and a 7 round magazine. That give me 8 shots to start with and only 7 after that. I can really feel the slowness of the extra mag changes on some stages. With all that said, I decided to start looking around.
I wasn't sure what to go with, but decided to stick with the 9mm platform since my Dillon is already set up for it. If I go with something other than the 9 or 38 special, I'd have to buy new dies for the press. Just one more expense. So, 9mm it will be. I started by doing some research on this wonderful thing we call internet, (ain't it great?) and finally narrowed it down to the Glock 17, S&W M&P and Springfield Armory XD. The next question is what length barrel? Well, it seems that they come in various lengths up to 5". Since all will fit in the "box" I think I've decided on a 5" barrel.
The next step was to fondle some of the irons so off I went to Shooters Paradise, the local gun shop in Yuba City that has an indoor range and rents handguns. In I go and lay my sorry story on the proprietor. He proceeds to pull out a Glock 17, a S&W M&P and a SA XD with a 4" barrel. Well, I proceeded to fondle all of them with great enthusiasm, sighting down the barrel, racking the slides, and just generally getting a feel for them. The first was the Glock. I just didn't like the feel of the fit in my smallish hands. The grip was just too large and didn't feel right. The next was the Smith, and while it felt better, it also didn't fit just right. Better than the Glock, and something I could get use to shooting, I could tell, but not right. Then came the XD. Wow, it just slipped into my hand like it belonged there. Just a very nice fit. Right there, I decided I didn't need to shoot the Glock or the Smith, but I was sure looking forward to shooting up that box of cartridges I had brought along.
At 7 yards, I was placing them all within the x ring. Now, I was shooting at a range, without some nasty old Safety Officer with a timer standing over me, but I was impressed. At 10 yards, the shots were equally impressive. Out at 17 yards, the longest this little outdoor range provides, I was doing head shots. Sure there were a few misses, but with a bit of practice to learn the trigger, I feel I'll be a much better shooter than I have been using my little 3913.
No, I didn't buy one yet, I wanted to get some practical advise from the folks on here that regularly shoot. Is it an advantage to have the 5" barrel or is the 4" sufficient? Why do you feel one is better than the other? I do think I'm going to get the XD, I like the feel in my hand, I like the price. But which should I get, 4" or 5"? Any other real consideration I need to take into account before plopping down my hard earned money? Well, maybe not hard earned, but scrimpy retirement pay! Please chime in and give me your opinions. I'll seriously consider each and every one. Even if you tell me to get something different. Thanks.