This year I thought I'd do it a little smarter and actually run a lower recoiling gun that was set up for this match. I knew I wanted to run a 9mm, and was split between running my primary M&P 9mm with KKM barrel or my newly refurbished M&P 9L.
The 9L has a 5" barrel, 1" longer than the standard full sized gun. The longer sight radius is theoretically advantageous in practical accuracy as well as visual tracking of the sights in movement between targets and shot to shot recovery. I'd had this 9L for a number of years, and recently sent it back to the factory for refurbishing when the accuracy degraded. It returned with a new slide and new style production barrel, and boy does it shoot! The 2" group below was shot at 25 yards with Atlanta Arms 115gr JHP blue box remanufactured ammunition.
After running a number of drills at different distances with both guns, here's what I determined based on my own skill level and shooting style:
- The 9L's front sight seemed to move slower in recoil, and seemed to recover from recoil more slowly based ONLY on the perceived sight movement. Drill times were the same at 7-15 yards.
- The full size gun's front sight moved more sharply in recoil, and seemed to return from recoil more quickly. This was more apparent during Bill Drills (Draw & fire 6 A zone hits) at 7 yards than it was during multiple target transition drills.
- Swinging from target to target was the same with either pistol.
- Running Bill Drills at 25 yards was where the difference became readily apparent between the two guns. I was able to consistently shoot sub 4.5 second Bill Drills clean with the 9L, where the full size gun was 4.6 seconds or higher. This difference is minor, but the perceived effort in shooting these drills was less with the longer slide and sight radius.
After the smoke cleared, I didn't find a significant enough difference from 7-15 yards between the two guns to deviate from my tried and true full sized gun. The 9L was a great shooter for sure, but the rest of the training cycle for Pro Am will be done with the same 9mm full size gun that got me through the Area 6 match and the IDPA classifiers from earlier this season.