Benjamin P-Rod airgun.I had remembered that this place had carried a P-Rod before; since this "pistol" uses the same bolt mechanism as the M-Rod rifle I've been considering for the Scout-Rod concept, I thought I'd put it to shoulder with that in mind.
Yeah, that bolt throw is really short. I was hoping it wouldn't feel that much so, but it does. That's just not going to be an honorable trainer for a real turnbolt centerfire. I suspect there's still a lot of value in the "Scout airgun" concept, but I may want/need to modify my thinking a bit on it. Boltwork is important. (Maybe when--if--my financial ship comes in and I can fully go at a new custom project, I'll try to convince someone like Tom Gaylord, or a Dennis Quackenbush, or some other innovator in the airgun space, to work with me on a concept piece. I still think that some sort of slow-indexing cam is a worthwhile pursuit, to get a faithful bolt function.)
Conceivably the not-fully-optimized airgun could be thought of more as an adjunct piece to a carefully plan, that includes both live- and dry-fire of the centerfire Scout, live-fire airgun focused on singles, and/or live-fire rimfire. After all, so much useful work can be done dry, with a manual repeater, and of course that would be the very bolt to practice on... okay, set cogitate mode on.
I do still want me a P-Rod, though. The carbine length is nice, and with the right sighting arrangement it should be a nice workhorse. Downside: the dang stock is too long, and doesn't lend itself well to shortening; there is an AR stock adapter available but believe it or not the shortest LOP is still too long. (I suspect there's a good answer available, but haven't found it yet.)
Benjamin Discovery airgun.This air rifle is what I think I'd go to, if asked to put together a "classroom set" of noob training guns. Since they had one, I thought I'd look at it in that context.
Yeah, okay, I really am on to something here: the Disco is impressive. It looks heavier and bigger than it really is, and should prove most useful for working with the small-statured. Stock is workable wood, which means shortening LOP and adding Ching sling studs will be simple. It shoulders naturally, and in this age of insistence on carbine-style vertical pistol grips it actually feels like an honest-to-goodness rifle. Safety is indeed acceptably located--would be better at front of trigger guard rather than rear, but it will do. Rear sight seems plenty good for an open sight, but of course I'll discard that and put a ghost-ring on instead, and probably replace the front with a solid square post.
The bolt seems solid enough. but the action is not "positive". As a reliable teaching rifle, it is probably perfect. I'd love to see positive clicks and snaps, but that is really just preference talking.
I like the Disco more and more the more I learn about it. It may not have the repeating mechanism or the sound-suppression of the Marauder, but its safety is vastly superior to its upscale brother, and it is both lighter and shorter besides. It's quite possible that the route I will take may not to go to the Marauder at all, but rather to have a custom Disco with sound suppression. Will think further.
Kel-Tec KSG shotgun.Ah, the storied and famed KSG. And now I've met one in person.
It is indeed luxuriously short. (Muzzle blast must be impressive to the shooter.) Short enough that I admit I have, somewhat surprisingly, a visceral hesitation to it. Sure, it's probably irrational, but I can't deny that it's there. Sight radius will necessarily be limited. The forward sling stud would necessarily be right there at the muzzle. And I believe the horror stories about shot hands after shearing off vertical foregrips during chambering. (I'm not a vertical-foregrip kinda guy in the first place, but still. This is a pump shotgun, after all; one works the action briskly, and the idea that your hand winds up right out there at the end of the stroke is somewhat sobering. One might reasonably observe that the pistol is even shorter, but the pistol's chambering stroke is away from the muzzle, not toward it.)
And yet there is much to like about the piece. It is, if nothing else, ingenious. Controls seem reasonably sized, positive, and easy to reach. 14 rounds of 12-gauge in a package this compact is impressive to my "size efficiency" aesthetic. It doesn't feel nearly as heavy as it really is.
So, jury's still out. But I'm glad it's here.
Glock G43 9mm.I happened to notice one of the new Glock G43 single-stack 9mm pistols in the rack, and of course had to see that. No, I've never been a Glock guy, but really, that has been mostly because of two very specific personal reasons: 1) they just feel like two-by-fours in my hand, and 2) the trigger has always caused my trigger finger to nearly go completely to sleep over the course of 20 shots or so. (I first noticed that on my ex-wife's G23 a lot of years ago, and every Glock I've shot since then does the same thing. I really wanted to like that G23, but I kinda need to retain sensitivity in my trigger finger, ya know?)
Anyway, the G43 does indeed dispense with the "feels like a two-by-four" problem, and that makes me happy. It's not the thinnest of the breed, and it won't displace my interest in Kahr, Shield, XD-S, and Solo, but it is certainly of the breed, and that will probably make it the Glock I'll go to when I want to get serious about Glock-fu. The rest of the gun was...Glock. Which means it seems well-built, simple, logical, and probably runs like a top.
Counter-jockeys.Le sigh. I think I've run into this particular counter-jockey before; he'll make you work to avoid having to tell him how full of shit he is about...oh hell, a lot. His ignorance about airguns is nearly weapons-quality, and he shows no sign of being really interested in learning otherwise. His gunhandling was awful, as was his attention; he didn't even seem to notice me repositioning myself nearly constantly whenever he was handling something.
He insisted I look at a PX4 Beretta for how "comfortable" and "safe" it was; I said upfront I could guarantee I wouldn't like it, and that my safety was between my ears. Fat in the hand, DA/SA fire control, decocking slide mounted safety, and size inefficient. I'm sure it runs fine, and some might like it, but after hearing me working over the G43 and discussing what it was about that piece which interested me, one would think he could manage a little less tone-deafness than this.
Perhaps I should have made it a point to make a point, but honestly it's frustrating that one should have to do that, and given the reasonably clear signals he ignored in the first place, I'm not sure it would have made much difference anyway.
The fun shop...should be, damn it. But sometimes, research can be painful.