Lessons Learned from SSF
The SSF is great for sharing shooting sports with those new to shooting to those who have been shooting for years. It's also a great experience to test how guns perform after hundreds or in some cases thousands of rounds. It's also great to observe shooting tendencies and how that translate on shooting performance.
Here are some observations from SSF.
1) It's amazing at how a little thing can total disable a firearm. A .300 BLK rifle started acting up Saturday afternoon. It started with not being able to put the gun on safe (AR lower), then the trigger reset was delayed. In the process of a quick clean of the upper and lower, the trigger eventually got stuck with the hammer all the way down. The hammer was cocked, trigger pulled and then pressed back down manually and it just froze after it bottomed out in the lower, before it could reset. Eventually, we sprayed some Ballistol on the FCG and the hammer worked free. We guessed some debris had been causing the issue, so I turned the lower over and sure enough, a piece of the primer fell out. It was a sort of star shaped piece of metal.
2) Not sure why, but new shooters (and some experienced shooters) have a tendency to lean back from the waist when shooting. It's something we deal with regularly with new shooters who take the basic pistol class and it's something that usually is quite easily corrected. That said, it always seems like when you try to get people to "lean forward" when shooting, they inevitably just take a step forward. :facepalm: Then there are some where you are able to get them into a more forward leaning position, to have them gradually revert to the leaning back position. Is that more comfortable or something?
3) I spent most of my time at the SSF on the AR and AK lines. One thing I noticed was how much slower the reciprocating bolt of the SCAR moved compared to the AR and AK. I have read about the heavy bolt of the SCAR and something about it is supposed to help with functioning when the bolt gets dirty. Something about the extra mass is supposed to help the bolt go back into battery in a dirty gun. Not sure if that's true, but that's what I found in my research. Anyways, I could literally see daylight each time the SCAR bolt reciprocated, whereas the AR and AK seemed to be much faster. Even faster yet was the speed of the Sig 556R/7.62x39 bolt. That got me thinking about cyclic rates for the auto versions and I think the AK and SCAR are both listed as 600 rpm. With the SCAR bolt seeming to move much slower than the AK bolt in semi-auto, that got me wondering how different they are in full-auto.
4) Knew that TV and video games influence what folks want to try at the SSF. This year was no exception. Seemed like the SCAR was a really popular gun. In speaking with some of the loaders (two girls actually), they mentioned that they knew of the SCAR from from first person shooter game and something about that the SCAR is the most powerful gun available on that game. Anyways, the SCAR had spurts of almost constant firing that the handguard got too hot for folks to handle without gloves. Hell, there were points where the gun was so hot that it was even uncomfortable to handle with gloves on. I was wearing Camelbak gloves similar to the basic Mechanix gloves.
5) The AKs in my line did NOT like brass cased 7.62x39. I believe it was all factory ammo. Anyways, they would have a bunch of misfeeds that seemed like the tip of the bullet head (Mac?) bent and the round was left stuck in an almost L-shape. The shape of the deformed round also left the sides of the case rim torn. I asked multiple folks if those were reloads and they all said it was supposed to be factory ammo. Not sure which manufacturer though. For most of the AK ammo, it was Red Army. That stuff functioned flawlessly in all of the AKs on my table and didn't hear of any problems with other AKs. Can't speak to accuracy though.
6) There are many folks who attend the SSF with what they think is an open mind, but they are really closed minded in many regards. To the point where they are so frozen with fear that they can't get themselves to shoot an AR without shaking in fear. Most of them calm down quickly after the first shot and they realize the recoil isn't much at all. But there are so many that have the "I can't" stuck in their mind.
7) Over the course of two days, many of these guns take a beating. I'm not one to really do torture tests on my firearms, but some of these guns really get beat on. Most of the ARs and AKs ran really well. One was actually quite dry and we didn't notice until we were doing some quick cleaning Saturday evening in preparation for Sunday. I was actually this particular AR hadn't showed any ill effects. The whole BCG was dry, dry, dry.
The male ego is a interesting thing. Many times I came across the "I know what I'm doing" or "I got this" macho guy. One insisted that he load the AR himself. Ok. As long as you keep muzzle pointed down range and otherwise safe, rock on. So I gave him the mag. He insert into the magwell and sent the bolt home. First round, trigger click and mag fell to the ground. He tried again. Inserted the mag and pulled the charging handle. First round, click. I think he didn't pull the charging handle all the way back. At least he seated the mag. Then there was a family of two daughters, wife and husband. They shot in the order of youngest to oldest with the guy shooting last. Both girls and wife had never shot before so I helped them get setup, find red dot, etc. They proceeded to get good hits. Then when it came time for the husband, he gave me the "I got it" thing. Ok, right on. I see him shoulder the gun and it looks like he's aiming about 2 feet above the target rack. I mention something and he gives me a stink eye and another "I got it". Ok, right on. He then proceeds to send all 10 rounds into the berm above the target rack. After each shot, he's prairie dogging and looking to see where his hits were. Couldn't use dot being off as his daughters had been shooting well. When he was done, his daughter asked him how he did and he muttered a sheepish "it was fun".