Monday, April 14, 2014

Time for another gratuitous gun photo

Smith & Wesson 38/44 Heavy Duty (5-Inch), shipped in September of 1938 - Some collectors call this finish wear, I call it character.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Gone shooting - Rainy day R.A.P.

It was raining this morning; I went to the gun range anyway. You see, I have numerous pistols and rifles that I need to shoot, either to test fire for the first time or to sight in. I promised myself that I would get this task done this year and I intend on keeping that promise.

Today it was the R.A.P.s turn at bat. The R.A.P. (Republic Arms Pistol) 401 was a small 9X19 handgun (also offered in 40S&W) made in South Africa. A number of them were imported into this country about fifteen years ago at a very modest price.

The R.A.P. is a small (6.5 inch length) recoil operated pistol that works using the Browning tilting barrel system. It is all steel in construction and has a thumb safety/decocker that allows the gun to be operated in two different ways. The pistol can be carried with the hammer down on a loaded chamber and fired as a conventional DA/SA pistol, in which case you can press down on the safety and use it to decock the pistol. The safety can also be pushed up and with the hammer cocked you can carry the gun in condition one ("cocked and locked") if you prefer.

I purchased this excellent used one a few weeks ago for less than it actually cost new in 2001. Accounting for inflation I guess it has lost considerable value since then. The interweb verdict seems unclear about this pistol, I have seen numerous posts singing its praises and others claiming it to be the worst piece of junk ever conceived. At less than half the price of a used Glock I decided to take a chance on it.

The pistol is well made both inside and out. Fit and finish is excellent and the gun at least appears made to high tolerances, the slide/frame fit was very tight.

Today I just wanted to fire some rounds thru it to get a general idea of reliability and accuracy. I didn't set up a target; I didn't want to get my boots (and the inside of my car) covered with mud. There were a couple of 2 liter bottles that a shooter left on the firing line at approximately 15 yards. I decided that was good enough. I took a bag of loose 9mm with me, leftovers from previous range sessions. There were 110 rounds altogether, mostly consisting of Winchester ball, but also included ten rounds of Remington hollowpoints.

The pistol has a heavy but smooth DA trigger pull and a single action that breaks at about 4.5 pounds. The 3-Dot sights seemed to be right on and I was consistently hitting the bottles. I would say the accuracy was certainly good enough for the intended purpose of this gun. Function was flawless with several brands of ammunition and both ball and hollowpoints. Recoil was light because of the weight (approx. 35.5 oz. loaded) of the all steel gun. The finely textured grips helped in controlling the recoil too.

I still haven't decided if I'm going to keep this pistol yet but it has not given me a reason not to. The only reason I would sell it would be because of lack of support and accessories for it. Although Astra A-75 mags (and some parts) will supposedly work on it that won't help me if something major breaks.

The R.A.P. certainly made a good showing at the range this morning and from what I know about it (so far) I wouldn't have any misgivings about using it in its intended self-defense role.