The Handgun Match I almost didn’t get to shoot, and a valuable lesson learned.
I learned a valuable lesson at a local USPSA Handgun match. I almost was unable to shoot the match because of a bizarre situation, but the community of shooters came through. I did shoot, and experienced another enjoyable match.
I did some dry practice before I left for the range with my XDm9 5.25. Once I got to the range and put on my competition belt, I took my handgun from my range bag (in an open gun pouch) to the safety table and holstered it.
When it was my time to shoot the first stage, and I was given the “make ready” command, I inserted a mag and racked the slide, well I tried to rack the slide. The side would move only about one inch, no more. No mater what I tried, it would not rack a round into the chamber. I left the firing line to try and fix my handgun.
A couple of shooters looked at it but couldn’t figure out the problem. I went to see my friend, and Match Director Pete Rensing, he thought he knew what the problem might be, but was too busy with the match spend much time on it. Then Keith Wright noticed the problem I was having, and asked to take a look at it. Keith, I come to find out is an experienced gunsmith, and does some gunsmithing on the side. He too thought he knew what the problem was. He took the backing plate, and a few other parts, off the slide, but was unable to remove the slide or fix the problem. He offered to take it home and work on it where he had a bench and all the right tools.
As a side note: while taking the backing plate off the slide, Keith (try as he could) was unable to stop a small plastic piece from flying off onto the dirt berm. Some of us shooters looked, and looked for that little black part. It was finally Kevin Acuff’s persistence and keen eye that spotted it. Thanks Kevin.
It looked like my shooting was done for the day before it even started. Then I noticed Kevin was caring a XDm9 5.25. Half kidding I said, “hey, there’s just what I need”. As it turns out, Kevin’s open gun was having some custom work done to it, and he was using his XDm9 just to stay in the game and keep shooting. He offered to trade off with me so I could continue and shoot the match. Wow, thanks Kevin, I really appreciated that.
So trading off with Kevin I shot the entire match and had a fun time as usual.
The lesson I learned? Always bring a back-up gun, if possible. It just so happens that I also have an XDm9 (4.5 inch). I will be bringing it with me from now on. You just never know when something might happen and you, or a fellow shooter, may need that extra handgun.
Read Part 2 where I explain the events that lead up to this situation, and what caused the slide to jam. It really is quite comical.