Thursday, October 18, 2007

Who's the market for this?

Just returned from running errands at lunch.

My trek put me in the vicinity of one of the local FLG's in the area. While looking around, I noticed this sitting on one of the display cases. So fresh, they hadn't even put it under the glass yet.

Let me preface the rest of what I am about to say with this: I think Ruger builds some fine handguns. I don't own any, but I've shot several different models over the years and I have been universally convinced that they are of high quality, with good materials and have a tendency to be somewhat overbuilt for their respective caliber. They are a high value firearm, getting a lot of gun for the money. Their autoloaders have, in my opinion, been rather dowdy in appearance, but that has never detracted from their performance. Their revolvers are simply outstanding, with overbuilt frames and nice finishes and they look pretty nice as well, whether in the Blackhawk or Redhawk series.

Now, I'm of the opinion that guns don't necessarily need to be built out of steel and wood to be considered appropriate for dispensing lead projectiles. I'm also one who doesn't jump up and down about not having a 3 1/2# trigger and too much take-up in my SA type pistols. I don't mind double-action triggers, even in plastic fantastic semi-autos. Even though I know about the Holy Browning Doctrine of the 1911, I just don't think those kinds of things matter at all when it comes to actually shooting correctly, or whether the gun fits your hands correctly, or if there is an issue of having the strength to handle the gun's chambering.

In short, I'm a gunny equivalent of the Liberal. I don't care what kind of gun it is, or who made it, or if it's ugly as sin. Plastic? Fine, I say, I shoot my G19 and I like it. Double-action lockwork? I love my 92FS! Big, chunky frames? Again, as long as I can reach the trigger, I'm usually happy. Spongy DA feel? I have a Swiss AT-380M that has a stacking trigger with about a 15 pound let-off, no kidding! Again, if it doesn't feel like sandpaper, I can usually hack it out. All I typically care about is that it works, and bad ergonomics, to some degree, can be dealt with.

Now, one can definitely make arguments about what that definition entails, and I'd have no problem with that, except that one must expect that each individual has differing
needs, and that leads to different approaches to designs that may appeal to some and not others.
The SR9, however, may have hit a new low with me.

To be clear, I didn't shoot the damn thing, and there's a wealth of feedback that any gun will give you when you do. It's likely that doing so will weigh heavily on one's opinion of how the gun resonates with them, so I can't be certain about my initial handling, but it wasn't good. The feel of the gun tells me that it's too long in the grip, with a pronounced point along the backstrap, and longish reach to get my fingers to the front strap. The girth of the frame is fine. Metal magazines tend to keep that dimension more slender, and they hold 17 rounds of 9mm. The slide is nicely contoured, and has a good look to it, in my opinion. Polymer frame (shocker, I know) that actually compliments the look instead of killing it (Glock, XD, HK - check your office). It even has a manual safety, for round-chambered carry, though the actuation lever is small and hard to manipulate, I think.

The trigger. The single most important interface between the user and the gun, and one that you can't afford to screw up too badly, or you'll never get people to shoot it. It was awful. In a way that is hard to describe, kind-of-awful. But I'll do it anyway.

It was gritty, bouncy, creepy, vague, heavy and had virtually no feedback with about 1/4" worth of travel, maybe up to 3/8", before it broke. When it did break, the overtravel to bottom out the stroke seemed to take up an additional inch! The trigger reset (This is a traditional DA action) was horrid! It didn't seem to want to reset at all, until almost completely released from contact with the trigger finger, and when it did, the trigger kicked back at you, with a big, buzzing feel and noise. Not good for reacquiring a good grip and follow-up shots. Just ridiculous. Comparing it to the box-stock G21 I handled along side it made the Glock trigger seem both smooth and crisp. That is the level of damnable praise I am casting here. I put it down after pulling the trigger no more than three times and pronounced the gun DOA. I doubt they will sell any after the initial novelty wears off.

Later I saw the manager doing the same drill with precisely the same reaction that I had.


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Blogger chrisb said...

Well, that is unfortunate to say the least. I had mild hopes for this gun after seeing it last week. I am going to be needing a 9mm plasti-gun soon. I guess Springfield will be getting that business.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a weapon's expert, just a regular guy who loves to shoot. If I consistently hit the target where I am aiming, then all the pre-firing hype and analysis by novices and experts, alike, on the subjects of the "trigger this" and the "action that" yada, yade...become meaningless drivel. For every person who loves something, there is an equal number of people who won't like it because of their own personal biases and beliefs. (I, personally, strongly dislike Glocks). So, too, it is with the Oz and other experts. I bought an SR9 - good old number 00631 - because I had a good feeling about it. My partner and I both fired a couple hundred rounds down range. She and I both came away loving the pistol; especially, the feel, fit and comfortable "operation in action" of the trigger that so many experts have declared "icky" without ever firing a shot. On the range, from safety to loading to sweet bliss of trigger pull and recoil management, it is a remarkably comfortable weapon to use. And damn! I consistently hit where I was aiming. Shouldn't these be the critical criteria by which every weapon is judged?

10:55 AM  
Blogger theirritablearchitect said...

Gee that was one long and unremarkable sentence there, RobG. It needs a bit of structure and punctuation for better effect and ease of reading.

Makes me wonder who sent you here.

To be clear about what I posted and why, this is my space, and my opinions are expressed here, and if you get your feelings hurt about me bagging on the pistol I mentioned (to differentiate from your pistol, specifically), then grow a little skin. Nothing personal.

My initial contact with the pistol wasn't good. I made the conditions of my cursory examination plain for all to read, and I made it clear that I hadn't shot it even once. I wasn't chastizing anyone who might own one, I was simply giving my thoughts on the features and performance issues, which weren't all bad. I simply think the trigger is abysmal, and as the primary interface with which to make any firearm work, I view it as being less than stellar in its user friendliness.

For what it's worth, I have, as in own, at least two or three pistols that probably have either heavier or vague triggers as I described in my post. I like them, but I don't expect others to like them at all, or, if they do, maybe for other reasons.

To each their own. If you like it, shoot it. I'm just not buying.

Not a hater. Just sayin'.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oz, oh Oz! You were listening - how refreshing! Yes, it is YOUR website, blog and opinions, but you are also presenting a forum in which anyone can express his or her own agreement or disagreement. You certainly did not hurt my feelings, I just chose to disagree with your summary, though not just for the sake of disagreement.

In all honesty, when I first "dry fired" the SR9, I felt the trigger fade into oblivion and silently muttered the expression you verbalized in your text. "Ick". Then I remembered having similar inklings when I first handled my P90 and was happy that, like the SR9, I waited to actually use the weapon before deciding whether or not I wanted to keep it.

Lastly, and for the record, no one sent me to your website. Like I said, I am just a regular guy who loves to shoot. I followed the link here from Les Jones' website, who, like you, wrote a similarly unfavorable review of the SR9 without ever firing a shot. I chose to leave an even more verbose and likely more poorly structured and punctuated assessment there as well.

Not being an incessant blogger (actually, this is only the third time I have ever posted a blog to any website), I presumed you to be an expert/well-respected firearms critic, mostly because of your prominent link in Les Jones' website (which was a link found in Ruger's website). Further imbedded in this presumption of expertise is my personal philosophy is that an "expert" has "experienced" all aspects of the subject he or she has chosen to scrutinize. Please accept my apology if I presumed incorrectly.

Like you said, "To each their own".

Rob G

PS - Since you are the professional writer, I suggest you revisit the fourth paragraph of your review to correct the spelling of "chuncky". Nothing personal.

3:36 PM  
Blogger theirritablearchitect said...

Rob G,

Actually I'm not Oz, just my scribblings from the locale of the damned movie. Get it, The Wizard of Oz?

It's really just an inside joke between me and my wife. You'd have to understand the situation and suffice it to say that it's just a perplexing, nay, frustrating circumstance for me being a native midwesterner and having married a foreign national from Europe.

Just call me -B. That's it. My boss uses it exclusively since I have a rather unusual name that begins with "B" and no one has ever gotten it right when they first encounter it.

Your presumptions, I must admit, are greatly exaggerated about me being some sort of well respected firearms "critic". I am just another gun fiend who has some experience with firearms and I occasionally blog about it. I have a wide interest in firearms and understand much about the mechanics of them, but in no way am I any kind of critic, as you describe. I have about 3 or 4 semi-regular readers, and that's it, with an occasional comment.

I just write this space for me, and I suspected that when I began doing so that I'd never get even that many. It's merely here to allow me to vent about items that catch my attention or things of interest.

Thanks for the catch on the spelling. I'm usually more careful with that, but I do occasionally let one slip.

4:14 PM  
Blogger chrisb said...

Dude you are a gun expert now! Freakin' sweet! :)

Rob, has done one thing here. I now at least want to rent an SR9 at the range to see what it is like. Thanks for the report Rob.

8:29 AM  
Blogger chrisb said...

I was able to handle one of these this weekend. Fairly nice little plasti-gun. The trigger on this one was very unremarkable to say the least. The wife loved the feel of the gun in her hand however, so we shall see.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oz, Please explain how you performed a reset on a firing action that does not have a double strike capability?

8:00 PM  
Blogger theirritablearchitect said...

"explain how you performed a reset on a firing action that does not have a double strike capability?"

Well, it's pretty easy to do since the SR9 does have a restrike capability. Anyone who handles one can do the same thing.

If you don't believe me, do it for yourself.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Held the SR9 tonight... liked it a lot. The features and feel urned my head from Glock, S&W M+P, Sig and Beretta.

This may be my next gun.

Rob, thanks for your review. It's an easy read, but I guess to each his own.

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, how would you rate this trigger compared to a Glock 19???

8:56 PM  

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