It's summer again, and that means changing my carry rig to fit seasonal styles of dress. I'm back to my SP101 in a bellyband at 12:30 (appendix carry), and yesterday I did some draw-and-fire practice to fully test my carry rig. My initial test was at 5 yards drawing from concealment and firing a single round just to see how long it took and what accuracy I could expect. I don't have a shot timer, so I can't put any figures down, though I would really like to do that. I drew, put the barrel between me and the cardboard zombie, and broke the shot without looking for a sight picture. The bullet impacted about 4" low, centered on the 10-ring. I repeated the process four more times and ended up with largely the same result.
Then I stepped back to seven yards and dumped the cylinder as quickly as possible while maintaining a sight picture. The resulting group below:
Then I moved on to 7 yard draw and fire. Results below again:
The careful observer will note that there's an odd number of holes. That's because I set up a second target and was starting to practice transitioning between targets at 7 yards and simply forgot to hang up a new paper target.
Then a similar thing happened at 7 yards. I tried my hand at some slower aimed fire. I drew, aimed carefully and put a cylinder and some change into the head of my cardboard zombie. The careful observer will note some .22 holes from my MP5.
And finally, a pic of my SP101 with its Badger Custom grips:
I managed to learn a few things from my quick test run. First, drawing and point-shooting is effective enough at 5-7 yards that I'm comfortable doing that in real life. Second, moving from 4-o'clock to appendix carry is much more comfortable and maybe even faster on the draw. Third, reloading from a speed strip takes about three seconds at my best. Fourth, carrying two speed strips is pretty easy. Finally, I shoot my M&P9C much more accurately, especially at anything over 15 yards.
That said, I'm still comfortable with my .357mag in the summer because it simply hides better. Yes, I only have 5 shots, and yes, reloading takes FOREVER. But most self-defense situations are less than 3 yards, less than three shots, and less than three seconds (At least according to a 1980s FBI report that I can't seem to find right now). For combat, or really anything, the M&P9C is excellent, but its relative girth makes it slightly tricky to hide in the summer, and I'm too lazy to change the way I dress. I'd rather just carry a gun that's easier to hide. I'm willing to take the risk of less rounds and difficult reloads because quite simply the risk of being attacked in my daily life is very low. A 5-shot .357mag stoked with 158gr hollowpoints doing nearly 1500fps should be plenty.