After having tried my colleague's old Walther LP2 (click on link for picture and technical data) target pistol an afternoon at work I got serious target pistol lust, I just had to get a target pistol of my own. A rapid fire version would sure be nice for rapid plinking in the back yard as well as for more serious target practice. Previous pistol shooting experience: shooting a couple of hundred rounds with a Colt model 1911 .45 service pistol at the Norwegian Naval Academy back in 1990 (the sights and trigger on this pistol were horrible, you would be lucky to hit a barn door with it, quite effective as a bull-stopper at five yards though).
I started searching the net for reviews and info on rapid fire pistols and soon found the Competition Arms Database at TargetShooting Canada. The Steyr LP50 and FWB 55P seemed like outstanding guns, but they were a bit pricey for my budget. Then on to checking out the Aeron B98; I found a favorable review of the pistol by Rada Plesinger and went on to find a dealer in Norway. No such luck. I found the Scandinavian distributor though, and he was willing to ship to Norway so I promptly ordered an Aeron B98 with an extra single shot magazine and a FX air pump. Then I went on to getting a fix for troublesome shooting eyes; bought myself a pair of Knobloch shooting glasses with semi-transparent cover disc for the non-shooting eye (I am right handed and have decided to use my right eye for shooting even though I am left-eye dominant). I then went to my optometrist and asked him to fit a + .50 diopter lens with correction for my astigmatism as well. A lens with anti-glare and contrast enhancing coating were ordered on his recommendation.
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January 2005: I shoot the Steyr LP10 about twice a week and a 60 shot series about once a week. More training would probably be better, but it is not easy for me finding the time for it. Talked to the people at the local sporting shop and got a great tip for training fingers, hand and underarm: I am now squeezing a rubber squash ball regularly. What a great $4 training device! Have now fine-tuned the grip angles on the pistol and have understood the importance of the sights being automatically aligned after raising the arm. I will now lower the arm and make tiny adjustments if it is not right instead of bending the wrist to make it right. I'm slowly getting there regarding my scores, my best traing score is now 530 (yay!) and the groups are getting tighter. Both Aeron B98 pistols now returned to the factory, I am currently waiting for the repair and return of the one leaking air. Looking very much forward to set up a simple rapid-fire range in the backyard when the snow is gone.
December 2004: My colleague Per finds a bargain at a local pistol club website: An almost new Morini CM 162 MI (the one with mechanical trigger). He of course buys it at once and start getting better scores after a short while. My shooting lens arrives and I am very happy with it, without it I would have had a hard time looking AT the sights instead of THROUGH them. The Knoblochs are working perfectly. My B98 arrives and I start shooting it at my home-range upstairs (5m, shooting at reduced targets - my wife tells me I should write that I am lucky to have a wife that is kind enough to let me shoot inside, heh). After a few days I start having problems with the pistol (leaking air cylinder and magazine feed/valve problems) and Aeron kindly sends me a replacement. The replacement pistol is mechanically better, but is leaking air. I am currently waiting for new o-ring seals and will try to fix the problem when they arrive. Such a shame about the pistols as I otherwise like their characteristics a lot; nice Morini-like adjustable grip, good accuracy and easily adjustable sights.
I got so frustrated about not having a working pistol to shoot that I started looking at single shot pistols to complement the five-shot rapid fire one. I decided to have a closer look at the Steyr LP10 at the knowledgeable local dealer Børselars where I previously got the JSB Match pellets and Knoblochs.
The Steyr LP10:
Being impressed with the feel, finish and general characteristics of the pistol I brought the wonder home the same day. I noticed that the Morini grips on the two pistols diplayed in the store were quite different even if they are supposed to be the same, this is apparently due to the hand-finishing of these grips. I tried them both and picked the one suiting my hand the best, and what a fit it is, simply superb right out of the box. I then chose the 2004 model in black finish and got a pair of the older style plain brushed aluminum air cylinders to go with it as I did not particularly like the blue anodized ones. I have so far put about 700 shots through the pistol and I am very, very pleased with it. Good points about the pistol: Excellent finish and workmanship, excellent accuracy, good grip adjustment possibilities, good sight radius adjustment possibilities, sight adjustments without tools, air cylinder sealing o-ring easily servicable (fitted to valve adapter) and GREAT stabilizer system. My one and only complaint so far is that the front sight screw is of a very soft material and was tightened so hard that I could not unscrew it without doing some damage to the head, I am currently waiting for a replacement screw.
Me and Per have set up a 10m shooting range at our small studio at work at the University of Oslo, here we have all the necessary space and good lighting too (we use softboxed 650W videolights on the target and this works just awsome!). I use 4,49mm JSB Match rifle pellets (orange tin) with the LP10 as per Børselars' recommendations after testing, they are cheap and they work good with this pistol. My best training score is currently not much to brag about; 504 in 60 shots - which is OK I guess, considering I have so far been shooting pistol for two weeks. The main point is that I am having LOTS OF FUN doing this. I have read a good deal about pistol shooting technique on the web and I am currently focusing on focusing... Yes, that is right; my main problem seems to be that I cannot hold focus on the sights for as long as I would like. When I occasionally get it just right my shot groups are nice and tight, when my focus drifts to the target my shot groups get really bad. I have set myself the goal of being able to predictably shoot 530-540 in half a year. Time will show if I can do it or not.
Staying focused, that's my main problem. Both five-shot groups shot the same evening, one good - the other one horrible.
The Steyr LP10, click on image for larger view.
November 2004: Eagerly awaiting my B98 and shooting lens. Have in the meantime refurbished my 20+ year old CZ Slavia 631 (Ian Pellant article). It is now back in good working order. Me and my son have had some great fun shooting it in the back yard lately. Have gotten myself a pellet trap and targets and have stocked up on some JSB Match 4.51mm pistol pellets (green tin, the ones the Aeron factory uses with the pistol) as well as some H&N High Speed Finale Match pellets.