This report covers:
- The pistol
- Second day at the range
- Slower is not the key to accuracy
- Double tap
- Double taps with BB gun
- How is it progressing?
- Magazines harder to insert
This report was never supposed to become a series, but because of the events that have occurred that has happened. I started out by using the Sig P365 BB pistol as a trainer for my P365 9 mm firearm that I carry concealed. I’m a watchman at my church and the pistol is an unfortunate but necessary accessory for that job. We all know I can shoot a handgun pretty well, but what about in a defensive situation? That’s very different than target shooting.
After practicing with the BB pistol I went to the pistol range and tried the same thing with my firearm. On that first day I stood 21 feet from the target and in Part 2 I showed you my results. I learned a lot in that first session. Notably:
1. I can draw and hit the target 21 feet away in about 3 seconds.
2. I’m accurate enough at that distance to do what’s necessary.
3. I can fire the pistol twice rapidly — called a double tap.
4. When I draw to shoot I can only see the front sight.
5. One of my two original Sig magazines had a feeding problem.
I’m one who thinks the 9 mm cartridge is on the lower end of what can be used for defense. Obviously anything is better than nothing, but I have always favored the .45 ACP. And I have always favored that cartridge in an M1911-style handgun. But I am also a bullseye pistol shooter and the M1911 is ideally suited for bullseye work, once you learn the proper way to hold it.
The 9 mm P365, in contrast, is an extremely easy pistol to shoot. The recoil is very light and the pistol points naturally for me. The basic magazine, which is what I have, holds 10 rounds. You can also carry one in the chamber, which makes 11. The pistol is striker-fired, so if there is a round in the chamber it’s ready to go immediately.
This pistol fits my hand perfectly, which is a big plus, and it is extremely easy to rack (pull the slide back to cock and load a round into the chamber).
The however is the question of reliability. In about 1,500 rounds since new this pistol has functioned without a flaw, which is essential in a defense weapon. But at the range on this first day of defense training, one of the two the magazines malfunctioned. And the failure is one that has been documented by many shooters. As the mag gets low on rounds one will drop down in front and jam the follower.
Here is what I read on one forum.
“The magazine follower can get stuck on the left side mag cutout when you have about 3 or 4 rounds left in the mag.The mag bodies are stamped steel, and the cutouts can sometimes have sharp burrs on the inside that snag the follower.”
This failure is called the 365 “nosedive” which is exactly what happened to me. Whether the guy is right about the possibility of burrs on the inside of the mag body is moot at this point because I have installed all new springs and followers.
I found no burrs on the inside of either of my magazine bodies, but I did find a small bit of flashing sticking out on the left side of one of the two plastic followers. The bit that sticks out is extremely small, but maybe it could cause a problem, because the magazine spring is weak at the spot where this burr would be encountered.
There is flashing (arrow) on the left side of the plastic follower of one of my two Sig magazines. It is small but it’s in the exact place to make the follower and cartridges tip nose down, which is what was happening.
The replacement spring is longer but has the same 8 coils. The wire is chrome moly instead of the Sig music wire spring and the wire is ever-so-slightly thicker. The replacement follower is aluminum rather than Sig’s plastic follower that is probably Delrin.
The factory P365 magazine spring and follower is on top of the replacement spring and follower. The replacement follower is aluminum.
The disassembly and replacement was easy and took just a few minutes. But I will note that one of the two magazines did not want to accept all 10 rounds when I first loaded it. All the available space inside the magazine body has been used by the new spring. After shooting the first load of that magazine, though, I was able to load all 10 cartridges.
Will the replacement magazine springs and followers work reliably? That remains to be seen and I am watching them very carefully. The P365 suits me in all other ways, but it has to be reliable for me to use it for defense.
Second day at the range
On this second day at the range both magazines functioned perfectly. I also told you at the end of Part 2 that it was my intention to shoot from farther back. Someone had placed a wooden plank on the ground at 21 feet from the backstop where the targets were stapled, so I backed up four feet from that. I was shooting from 25 feet on this day.
Slower is not the key to accuracy
I said in Part 2 that I thought that I needed to slow down in order to become more accurate. I tried that for the first two magazines this time but it didn’t seem to work. Instead of grouping the same, my shots opened up and went more to the left. I also shot to the left in the last test, but this time it seemed worse. Yes I am four feet farther back, but how much difference should that make?
Then I tried something that sounds counterintuitive. I began shooting with double taps.
A double tap is two rounds fired in very quick succession. You can hear both shots but they sound like two fully automatic rounds rather than two intentional shots. I did my first double tap ever by accident in Part 2. So I wondered whether a double tap was good for today’s test. And, to my surprise, it was.
What I found was that on double taps the pistol was still pointing toward the same place on the target on the second shot. I now saw several pairs of holes opening up next to each other. The second shot of a double tap always seemed to go next to the first shot fired.
I fired a total of 40 rounds at this target. I count 35 holes in the paper which means I either missed the target paper altogether 5 times out of 40 or I put two through the same hole. I see several pairs of holes close together, and I think those came from the double taps. I also see at least one hole on the lower left of the actual target paper where it appears two shots may have gone through the same hole. It’s the hole that looks ragged, rather than round.
Double taps with BB gun?
Reader Shootski asked whether it is possible to shoot double taps with the BB pistol. I told him I would try it and see. Here is what he said:
If you want to do real double taps consistently you need to practice finding the RESET point on your trigger group and not allow your finger to go farther forward than that point after the first shot. I wonder if your bb gun and your carry pistol have the same reset point? I kind of doubt it.”
Once you find the RESET it may move your pattern to the right; you appear to have an aim left bias just looking at your target and your own stated impression of your shooting. You may want to note what your “weak” hand is doing to your hold.”
Well, I tried shooting double taps with the BB pistol. I can shoot it two times pretty fast, but it cannot shoot double taps. The BB pistol has a double action trigger pull for every shot. Several times I found the pistol unable to fire because the trigger had not been reset. In that respect the BB pistol differs from the firearm.
How is it progressing?
I’m pleased to see what I believe is progress in my defensive shooting. I’m shooting from a little farther back and I’m using double taps to keep my shots on target.
The magazines with the new followers and springs have been reliable so far, though there is a lot more to come for me to trust them completely.
Magazines harder to insert
I will note that the magazines are much harder to insert into the pistol, now that I’m filling them completely. You might wonder whether it’s better to leave the last round out of the magazine to save wear and tear on the magazine spring. The pros say no; it shouldn’t matter. As long as you change the magazine springs every other presidential election (every 8 years) they should hold up fine.
At this point I’m wondering if the original Sig magazine springs are fine and it was the flashing on the plastic follower that caused the problem. If that is the case, why did it take so long for the problem to emerge? Reliability in a defensive weapon is mandatory, which is why some people still cling to revolvers.
This series has opened my eyes to the importance of training for defensive shooting. It’s a new kind of shooting for BB and the BB pistol has been a great help. This isn’t the last time you will hear about this.
21 thoughts on “Training with a CO2 lookalike: Part Three”
I ALWAYS have trouble with magazines. Every rifle and even a few pistols have had at least one hiccup.
One more reason I love break barrels. Impossible to double load. If the pellet is still in the lead after you fire the gun, you have a problem, and know it!
For home protection get a good dog!
“The P365 suits me in all other ways, but it has to be reliable for me to use it for defense.”
For a defensive firearm, reliability is number one!
It trumps power and accuracy!
B.B. I hope these new magazine rebuilds will get your pistol back up to snuff.
Blessings to you,
Was looking at the P365 as the go-to pistol for concealed-carry, but this report has opened up a few concerns. Still don’t get why a manufacturer would not ensure all the kinks are worked out of a critical part of a system, whether this be in a firearm or a car, before offering it to a market. Yes, FM knows…it’s the “Invasion of the Bean Counters” – starring Rowan Atkinson.
As to getting a dog for home protection, sure – soon as FM finds a breed which can be trained to use a 12 ga pumper. 😉
I am pleased you achieved good accuracy with the double tap. Would a third shot also be accurate? A triple tap could make a difference putting a mass shooter out of commission. You could even load 9 rounds in the mags and still have 3 different targets capability plus the one extra round already chambered.
BB, this is pure speculation rather than advice. I don’t speak from experience and frankly prefer revolver pistols for defense because of perceived reliability. I have never shot a semi auto that was 100 % reliable.
Very useful and informative report.
My experience with semiauto pistols has been different than yours. Since I shoot 1911s mostly I have seldom encountered one that wasn’t 100 percent reliable — or at least so close to 100 percent that it was hard to differentiate. This P365 magazine issue surprised me, though I’m glad it happened when and where it did.
I concur with your experience.
I have found that the maxim, You get what you paid for. Is true most of the time with firearms and many other mechanical things. Thereafter it is on you to either know how to maintain it correctly or find a proper gunsmith to do what you can’t or won’t.
Magazines are the highest maintenance Item in my book that is not understood by most shooters. They are built by a different division or totally different company and aren’t typically matched to your gun until you or (that gunsmith i refered to earlier) does some work to help make certain them play nice with each other. Then the first time you DROP (think HOLLYWOOD) that mag on the ground you get to start testing and adjusting all over again.
Just my opinion,
PS: were you shooting you actual carry round when it happened or a different (training round) that caused the feed issue?
I stopped shooting anything but my carry round even for practice until my armorer’s advice to use different magazines for different (same caliber) rounds.
The new Sig P365 X Macro came home with me recently. At 17+1 it has the capacity of a Glock 17 but is only slightly larger than a G48. I’ve really been enjoying it and if it proves to be reliable it will become my EDC. Wish there was a BB version!
On the subject of how closely the BB version replicates the feel of the firearm version, I thought the P365 firearm was double action only as well. Perhaps the striker is partially cocked as compared to
a DA or DA/SA pistol? I’m thinking perhaps the difference between how the hammer must be released to hit the valve in the BB version is fundamentally different than how the striker must be released to hit the primer in the firearm version is the reason for the different feel.
So is a BB replica the best at home defensive training tool or is perhaps an airsoft replica or one of the infrared or laser based options better?
I am strongly considering the P365 for a self-defense pistol. I am thinking to have one for carry with the SAS slide and one for home defense with the same fire control unit (same trigger group) and same grip, but with a longer slide with a red dot and light attached, and eventually with a silencer. Interested to see if anyone would agree or disagree.
I do not have extensive experience with handguns, so take or leave my opinions as you will, but with regards to the P365, I purchased the firearm a few months ago after BB’s first post on this subject inspired me to start practicing with the BB gun replica, and I have since developed several thoughts on the matter.
I chose to go with standard open sights rather than the SAS system, my reasoning being that I would thereby become more proficient with the vast majority of other handguns, rather than becoming accustomed to and dependent upon a less common sighting system that is (in my opinion) somewhat less reliable. The P365 that I bought was, therefore, the original version. I almost got one with a manual safety, but the guys at the gun shop convinced me that it was just one more thing to go wrong under stress, and I have myself experienced the BB gun safety accidentally flipping on, so I must concur with their advice.
The grip length is another matter of consideration. The standard grip module is very short and does not fill my hands (size large) well; however, I bought my pistol in a “tac pac,” which comes with a holster and three twelve-round, extended magazines. These extend the grip length sufficiently to give my hand a more complete hold on the gun, but I found two problems with them: First, the extension has a bit of play in it, and when I draw the gun rapidly, this play causes me to alter my grip in a subconscious attempt to prevent the magazine from falling out. Secondly, in order to swap mags, I have to open up my strong hand’s grip in order to clear the extension and ensure that my palm is not pinched when inserting the new mag. For these reasons, I dabbled around for awhile with the idea of changing over to ten-round mags exclusively, but the capacity and length of the twelve-round mags suited me so well that I finally got an XL grip module and flush-fit floor plates to essentially modify my gun into a P365X with a curved trigger and no optics cut-out. The only complaint I have with the XL grip is that the magazine well is flared for easy mag insertion, and with the extra length, this flare makes the gun a bit more difficult to conceal. But these are personal preferences which you may not need to consider if you choose to go with the shorter ten-round mags for the sake of maximum concealability.
As for a longer slide/barrel on your home-defense pistol, that sounds like a great idea, as it would probably improve handling and target acquisition. And a suppressor would be a must-have when shooting indoors without hearing protection as would likely be necessary under such circumstances.
Thanks for confirming my thoughts. I will need to go to my.local gun shop and handle the different varieties. My hands are fairly medium sized, so I looking for this to fill a variety of roles.
“I thought the P365 firearm was double action only as well.”
A very common misconception:
A STRIKER fire system is NOT anything but STRIKER Action.
I could write all the following if (George hadn’t already) or if you are interested you can simply click on this link:
It is what shootski would write if it didn’t already exist!
B.B., assuming your firearm P365 has no safety, do you find the safety on the BB version a distraction or impediment to using it as a training aid?
I typically don’t use safeties on firearms. One exception is the 1911 in condition one.
A nice informative report BB, and I absolutely agree with your requirement of 100% reliability for a defensive weapon. Many years ago I bought a G19-G2. To tell the truth, I do not like it much and I could point to several ‘defects’ in its design. However, it has been the most reliable firearm I have used, through three magazines and untold number of mixed rounds, including a variety of reloads. Yes, I practice with defensive rounds too. That said, I still would like to replace it with a more ergonomic package – this is another reason this series hold so much interest to me.
As a side note, I noticed that the rounds are grouping to the left. Are the sights misaligned or could it be an effect of the trigger pull?
The lefties are me pulling the gun to the left as I shoot. The pistol is dead on out to 10 meters.
An interesting and timely blog series. A couple of my thoughts-
I wouldn’t worry greatly about whether all of the features (safety, etc.) of the BB shooter exactly match the firearm. I think the greatest value of these is in two areas.
First, starting from the low ready, train for that first shot. On target every time, then work to increase the cadence. Reduced times follow with muscle memory, but you have to hit the bullseye every time before trying to go fast.
Second, starting from the holster, train for that first shot. Everything follows from the initial grip. Drive the web of your hand onto your gun before curling fingers and thumb onto the grip and withdrawing the gun from holster and raising the sights to eye level. I wouldn’t even load it for the first 500 or so reps. Again, train for that first accurate shot. Double and triple taps with the firearm will come easier following the accurate first shot.
“Everything follows from the initial grip. Drive the web of your hand onto your gun before curling fingers and thumb onto the grip and withdrawing the gun from holster and raising the sights to eye level.”
AND…if your holster continues, after practice, to keep you from doing that correct immediate grip; standing, seated, and lying on the ground it is time for a different holster.
B.B. and Readership,
I want to avoid a potential misconception about finding the trigger’s RESET point. This is only part of Dry Fire and Live Fire drills. The concept is for DRILLS only and not to be thought about during actual defensive or timed target shooting. It is simply a training progression step to break or avoid BAD trigger control habits.
B.B. and Readership,
More Off (today’s) Topic Outraged RANT by shootski.
If Stephen Archer reads B.B.’s BLOG i’m actually not outraged at his HAM blog today:
It is very accurate and informative…as far as he took the complicated subject. As I read it I was going “okay time to drop the other shoe.” He came really close with an aside about this NOT assuring ACCURACY.
But SA never dropped the other shoe!
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING for PRECISION is having THE PROPER BARREL TWIST RATIO for the LENGTH of the PROJECTILE.
You can optimize all the things SA covers and more BUT IF you don’t have the correct TWIST for the LENGTH of your projectile you will at best have a short range capable airgun. Shooting Bullets (SLUGS) at short range is a waste of money and a misused hunk of metal!
Stephen has a great article about the PCP Bullet (SLUG) topic with one VERY IMPORTANT item not touched on; maybe he is planning for a piece on TWIST. If he writes one I hope he doesn’t forget the part about in barrel velocity on Rate Of Spin which IS at the core of Bullet (SLUG) stabilization all the way to that distance you require to connect with your Target
I am not a big fan of aluminum followers. It has been my experience that they will “hang up’ sometimes. I have found that aluminum is too soft and does not slide well. I like steel.
when I was carrying a 1911A1, I bought a couple dozen magazines and tried them all out until I found five that did not give me any feed problems. Those were my carries. I sold the rest.
I personally like the .45 ACP. You do not need the double tap with it.