Thursday, January 30, 2014

F.N. FiveseveN SURPRISE: a field shooting review

I'm working on another post that details the trip El Fisho Jr. and I took to the family place of a friend of El Fisho, who we'll call Bob III. He's a good kid and he's been best buddies with El Fisho Jr. since they started school and they've both played in band, football and basketball teams. As young teens, they are outstanding young men, both raised with strong traditions of Texas history and values.

So, as what turned out to be the coolest birthday party ever for Bob III thrown by his parents and paternal grandparents at the old family place and deer camp and weekend getaway. There were many cool things about this 75 or so acre place, including indian carvings, spanish settler road markings on rocks and a TON of wildlife we saw like coyotes, wolves, groundhogs, both javalina and the larger feral hogs, deer and bobcats, all during the daytime, all on property that is hunted regularly for predators and seasonally for deer and turkey. We just missed several turkey we stalked up on, finding instead several large feathers freshly left upon their getaway. 

Part of the festivities was skeet shooting, and I was glad I had brought some extra shells in case the host, Bob Jr., needed them. In all, the 4 kids shot off about 600 rounds total in skeet in a couple of hours.

I also brought a small selection of .22 handguns, including some revolvers, for the kids to shoot. I had stocked up on .22 before the most recent "shortage", and have picked up boxes since whenever .22's are found, which is still somewhat rare in areas. Walmarts never have them. So I brought a brick of .22's because they go fast.

Everyone brought a Glock of some kind, and one of the kids brought a Model 23 of his dad's, a police sergeant work friend of mine.

So I was invited along to act as a helper and fellow rangemaster with Bob Jr. and Bob Sr. More about the loveable man, a retired fire chief, in my later post on the trip. Bob Jr. did an excellent 45 minute long gun safety lecture. I've given the same talks, and I was impressed. It was interactive and seemed to sink in. I then helped Bob Jr. talk about operating the different guns he and I had brought out there, the different safety procedures for each one, and so on.

I must salute the Glock operating lecture he gave. Glock should video it and include it with each consumer gun sold. I've been a Glock shooter, and frequent carrier of a Glock, for 22 years now. But there are certain ways to safely carry and handle and choose a holster for the Glock to prevent negligent (no such thing as accidental) discharges. He really spent a lot of time breaking down various Glocks there and having the kids reassemble them.

El Fisho has been shooting Glocks now for over 7 years, mixed between the 21sf, 36, 26 and 19. Even he and I learned some new stuff, and I'm fairly knowledgeable on "Glock-age" and learned a few things.

So even the mandatory fun of a gun safety lecture was something to write home about. 

My intuition about kids of today being fascinated with revolvers was correct. When Bob Jr. and I were unpacking the handguns that the kids were going to shoot at Bob's shooting range on his place and discussing differences in operation between single and double action and such, one of the kids asked if they were REALLY GOING TO SHOOT REVOLVERS!?!!!!! and all were clearly excited. 

All these kids have parents who hunt deer and hogs and predators and who own fairly extensive gun collections, but I think a couple might have a J frame snubbie and all other handguns are semi-autos. It was the policeman's kid who really was excited about shooting the revolvers, and I made sure he shot them as much as he wanted to.

At our cliffside shooting range, shooting against a tall hill with a cliff on the shooting side, various small Gatorade bottles and cola cans had been arranged on the various levels of dirt in front of the cliff.

We had a shooting table set up about 30 feet from the targets, and I  pretty much steadily handled the reloading of all the guns for a couple of hours. The kids were laughing when shooting revolvers they were having so much fun. All are experienced with semi-autos, but only my son really had any extensive experience with revolvers, which he was trained on (Bearcat).

For myself, I had brought along a FN FiveseveN with fixed sights.
I've had it for awhile, and had been to indoor ranges with it several times, but never 

 I was extra, extra pleased with the plinking accuracy of the 5.7. I had previously run a couple of hundred rounds through it at the range, not yet entering it into a carry rotation because I didn't like the so-called concealment holsters I had found for it. Note that I did recently find a great concealment holster for it in the Mr. Softy by High Noon Holsters, and cheap too.

I could do no wrong with the FN. I hit EVERY target EVERY time. Now, like many shooters, I shoot much better with a Glock (when it comes to target shooting) than I do with most other semi-autos. I can shoot as well as a Glock with a good revolver, but of course for so many revolvers are either passe or like some of these kids, more or less unknown, only seen in video games.

I did some pretty long range shooting with it as well, hitting an old rusted wash tub some 75 yards away several times, and missing a couple of times. A large target, admittedly, but I look forward to some more outdoors long range shooting with the 5.7 as it is capable of amazing things distance wise for a handgun with it's fast moving and flat shooting round.

With the 5.7, I felt like Robert Redford's Sundance Kid character sorta, as I sent several bottles airborne in "point and shoot" shots that came after running through the targets three times back and forth in order, and all of this requiring only one mag change with rounds to spare in the 2nd mag. I wasn't "moving when I shoot" like Redford's Sundance requires, but I was very pleased with this gun and cartridge and how well I was able to shoot it.

So all the kids took a few shots with the 5.7, as did Bob Jr. Bob is more or less a meat and potatoes gun guy, having Colts, Smiths, Rugers and a host of fine long guns including many uniquely calibered AR type guns. Bob Jr. said the same thing I do..."I shoot better with a Glock than other guns but shoot better with this FN than with a Glock." Bob Jr. was asking a lot of questions about it, and is quite the gun guy, and I expect to see him with one soon.

So there's that.

The FN kicks a wee bit more than  the Kel-Tec PMR-30, a 30 round .22 magnum fun gun, meaning it kicks like a peppy .22, more or less.

I run Pachmayr slip on grips on the 5.7. They don't make a model specially for the 5.7, but the ones I have for Glock compacts fit them fine. In fact, I have found that the Glock 19/etc model fits the FN9, the Walther P30 and the Steyr. The FN9 and the 5.7 have a bit too sharp of raised portions on their grip panels for my liking, so the Pachmayr slip on grips, the ones with holes for the Gen3 Glocks finger grooves and perforations on other parts of the grip make them a good fit for a lot of like sized guns.

It's no secret to longtime readers here that I've been a Pachmayr user since 1981, when I began serious shooting of big bore and magnum handguns. It really makes a difference to me, no matter what some internet comment experts might posit, because I know from personal use how much more pleasant it is to shoot almost any gun with some kind of Pachmayr or Hogue grip on it.

So for me, adding the Pachmayr slip on grip to the 5.7 makes both a bit more comfortable to shoot, not so much for recoil reduction but for the abrasive grip surface and front and backstrap. Now, for concealment, and maybe it's just my imagination, but I feel as if the 5.7 is easier to conceal without the Pachmayr slip on grips, even though they add little to the profile of the gun.

Perhaps it's because these grip slip ons tend to hold clothing and print parts of the gun through clothing easier. I just really feel the gun is more concealable sans the slip on grips, and really they are just for comfort and not for recoil reduction on this unique handgun.

As an aside, a few weeks ago my friend Max and I were talking and both bemoaning the lack of a reasonably priced long gun chambering the FN 5.7 round. I'd love to see the single shot takedown gun, similarly to an H&R but made by someone else I think, that's made for the .300 Blackout round. It should be no biggie to just bore that same barrel for the 5.7 x 28 round. As far as I'm aware, there is just the expensive FN P90 assault rifle that shoots the 5.7.

I put a lot of rounds through it that day, perhaps around 200 just myself, and I've yet to have a jam using the two types of FN factory available ammo. No issues with operation. No failures to feed or eject. In fact, it ejects those cartridges about 15 feet away!
So it shoots small groups at the range at long distances and is hell on plastic bottles and cola cans.

Several of my Texas ranching and farming friends swear by three guns for hog hunting...the .44 magnum, the Glock 10mm and the FN 5.7. That's three very different calibers and two different cartridge/bullet design that seem to achieve the same results, namely, hogs dead with one shot stops.

As I and many others have mentioned lately on other blogs and sites, hogs around Texas I've encountered have avoided conflict with people unless cornered. Javalina, from South and West Texas, have cornered people in trees while folks were out hunting. Ask me how I know this.

But lately, the feral hogs we have here in Texas have been attacking some folks, including a fisherman who was at a farm pond. He ended up shooting the hog, but didn't escape unscathed. They had some show on the Animal Planet I think about Mutant Hogs from Hell or something like that. Lots of the places with what can only be called swarms of hogs were real near me, places I could drive to in 25 minutes to an hour.

When I got cornered by those javalina in South Texas several decades ago, it was fortunate that I was young and limber enough to shinny up a rough barked live oak tree high enough to keep me safe from the black javalina that swarmed down the wash I was traversing.

I had been bird hunting with friends and was taking a different route back to camp, walking down a deep wash/dry creek bed, when I heard a stampede coming toward me. When I saw what it was I ran to the only safe haven available, a tree.

I had just a few rounds left from my morning hunt, which I had retained lest I encounter any snakes. So it wasn't near enough rounds to make a dent in the javalina population that was bumping into my tree and trying to knock me out of said tree.

But if I'd a had a 5.7, with a couple of 30 round magazines, I could have made a real good dent in their numbers, enough to send the remainder hightailing it.

Bottom line: My experiences with the fixed sight FN 5.7  out of the box have just been fantastic with really amazing accuracy.  

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