Range Time: Full Auto Friday

Scott and I escaped the office and spent Friday afternoon at an outdoor range. Walt met us there with two friends as well. We had a selection of rifles in .22 LR, 5.56 NATO, 7.62 NATO, and .300 Win Mag, and of course there were a few .45 caliber 1911 pistols there. Additionally, Walt’s friends brought two 9mm sub machine guns for a bit of variety. One was the Heckler & Koch MP5,

the other a German MP40.


The MP40 is a German military weapon from WWII which fires the 9mm parabellum from an open bolt. They were generally well made and reliable, with the exception of a tendency for the magazines to fail. For extra realism, one of our available magazines on this outing proved unusable as fatigue caused it to allow the cartridges to ride too high and jam. Operations using other magazines were conducted without interruption.

The little H&K reminded me of just how well that firm makes their weapons. Everything about it was nearly perfect. It’s ergonomics and sights were exceptional and the trigger was the best I have used in a machine gun. I switched it over to semi auto and it was nearly perfect. If they made one in .45 ACP I’d likely buy it. Alas, they offer it in 9mm, .40, and 10mm. (Update: I remembered that they make a .45 caliber UMP, which is similar. I will be looking about for a test drive.)

We had a lot of fun shooting the SMGs but it also reinforced the lesson that in most circumstances aimed fire is superior to automatic fire.

Targets were at 20 and 100 yards and included paper bullseyes, our always entertaining helium balloons, and a regulation dart board that was beyond its service life for darts, courtesy of Mark at Black Bear Tavern. In re-reading Jeff Cooper’s columns after his recent death, I find that he used helium balloons “way back in the dark ages.” I don’t need anything more than experience to tell me this is a worthwhile practice, but it warms my heart to know we are doing it in the footsteps of a master.

Everyone shot well and had a great afternoon. I hope our new friends will join us again.

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