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Gun Competition 2008

Motivation
Why do I want a gun? I don't really know. Part of me wants to be armed and ready when 'the day comes'. Part of me wants to defend my home and my family (note: I am single with no children). Part of me wants to be cool. Part of me wants to cure my road rage by killing all the terrible drivers. And part of me likes shooting. It's a fun sport, as long as it isn't overdone. It can be a social sport, by competing or having fun with your guy friends, and it makes an awesome date. It can be a solitary sport. Burning off some steam, or just entering your own world, with no distractions as you focus on shooting your target.

Competition?
So I don't have my heart set on any particular weapon. I want to try different guns to see what they are like to shoot. I want to shoot all the popular or famous guns, to see what all the hoopla is about. So I decided to make a competition out of it. I'm sure some day I'll decide on a gun I prefer, but I am not in a hurry to make a purchase.

Requirements
I need a full-size gun to fill my hand. I also am not interested in owning a revolver. Cool as revolvers are, pistols are much more reliable in a fire fight (am I really, actually saying this?). I am not sold on any caliber, but I imagine I will purchase either a 9mm or a .40cal. .44, .357 and .45 are very loud and very expensive. They all kill. I don't see the point in being a Dirty Harry about it.

Apart from those two primary requirements, I have the following four tests:

  1. Accuracy: The gun must be accurate. This (obviously) is very important.
  2. Reliability: The gun should be able to take punishment from both myself and the environment. It should be able to withstand many thousands of rounds before failing.
  3. Ease of Maintenance: The gun should be easy to use and easy to clean.
  4. Customer Service: If and when there's a failure, there should be no problems ordering or receiving replacements.

Results
The results of the competition in the map below. I will be updating the map as I go and explain why a gun was chosen over another. I just want to point out that the 8 guns I selected are probably the top 8 pistols in the world. They are all excellent and in many cases it was difficult to choose one over the other.

Quarter Finals
Springfield Armory 1911 vs Beretta 92FS
Both staples of the US military, I was anxious to try these out. I assumed they would be the best possible guns, but that wasn't quite the case. Both were fun to use. The 1911 is a favorite in slo-mo movie shots because of its authoritive look and very long action. The Beretta has extra functionality and that has its appeal. The 1911 is an extremely reliable gun, but the Beretta is well known for failures (failures compared to other guns). The 1911 is easy to service and parts are readily available. However, I chose the Beretta because I could not hit the broad side of a barn with the 1911. 1911's have a hefty kick. 1911's are also very large handguns and I found the gun to be a bit too large for my hand.
Winner: Beretta 92FS

Smith & Wesson MP9 vs Walther P99
The Walther was a good gun, but I did not like the feel of it in my hand. The MP9, on the other hand, felt like it was made for my hand. It shot true and I also like the fact that it's an American made gun.
Winner: Smith & Wesson MP9

Hechler & Koch USP vs Glock 17
Both guns were fun to shoot. The HK was nice because it was completely symetric and easy to shoot with both hands. Nice, because I am left handed. I felt the Glock was slightly more accurate and with its proven track record of reliability and service it won out in this competition.
Winner: Glock 17

Springfield Armory XD9 vs Sig-Sauer P226
Both guns are known for being reliable. The Springfield Armory is known for its extra safety features and its affordability. The P226 is known for being one of the finest guns and also for being attractive. They both shot well. I didn't like the trigger on the SA at all. I did like the feel of the P226 when firing it and was probably a large factor in its accuracy. Both were accurate, but the P226 was the winner here.
Winner: Sig-Sauer P226

Semi Finals
Beretta 92FS vs Smith & Wesson MP9
The Beretta is fun to shoot, it looks good in your hand, but it can't hit a target to save it's (or your) life. The MP9 on the other hand was straight and true. It feels good. It feels professional. I had confidence that I would shoot well with this gun.
Winner: Smith & Wesson MP9

Sig-Sauer P226 vs Glock 17
Both are excellent guns. They both take slightly different approaches in design, but they are both renowned for quality and accuracy. Both guns are used by professionals and both are fun to shoot. The P226 felt great in my hand. The Glock didn't feel as great, but still fit my hand well enough. I had such tight grouping with the P226 I was surprised. Unfortunately, I was constantly slightly up and to the right. The grouping with the Glock was not as tight, but I was more accurate, hitting several bulls-eyes. This was a hard decision to make, but after consideration I chose the Glock 17.
Winner: Glock 17

Finals
Smith & Wesson MP9 vs Glock 17
These are both truly great weapons. I've already discussed my affection for both above. Side by side, the MP9 was slightly more accurate and fit my hand better. On the other hand the Glock shoots very straight and has amazing customer service. It was a tough choice, but I picked the MP9.
Winner: Smith & Wesson MP9

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