I’m always up for the chance to put unusual guns through practical trials, so I jumped at the chance to try out the 2-Gun Action Challenge Match north of Tucson AZ this past weekend. For my armament, I chose a Leader Dynamics T2 rifle and the Ballester Molina I recently bought as a carry gun.
Both guns performed great – I had no malfunctions at all caused by either of them. The only gun-related problem I had was when I failed to fully seat a rifle magazine in the Leader at the start of stage 3. Well, that and losing one of the FCG e-clips somewhere…although that did not cause any functional problems. The Leader was designed to be simple and inexpensive to manufacture – a practical no-frills rifle. There are a few changes I would make to it – like replacing the carry handle with a bit of Picatinny rail and using a more secure system for retaining the FCG pins – but it gave me no problems and handled quite naturally.
The Ballester-Molina, I am happy to report, ran like a top and justified the confidence I had put in it. It’s everything the 1911 was really intended to be, and not what people have tried to make them into. It’s not a bullseye gun, it rattles a bit when you shake it, and as a result it runs reliably. It doesn’t suffer from either of the problems endemic to today’s 1911s:
- Mix-and-match parts, all made to slightly different tolerances. Start building a 1911 salad, and you run the risk of stacking tolerances to the point that the gun no longer works all the time, every time.
- Too much focus on tiny groups. The Browning design uses a moving barrel, and it thus inherently not fantastically accurate. When you try to address this by tightening up the fit of the parts, you make it much more vulnerable to a bit of dirt or powder residue.
The answer? For me, it’s to stick to a stock military gun. Sistema Colts, GI 1911s, Ballester Molinas, Ballester Rigauds, Star Model Bs, etc.
Having shot IPSC/3-gun/practical matches with a bunch of different groups now, I can definitely recommend the 2-Gun ACM for anyone interested in a fun, mentally stimulating, and physically challenging shooting experience. In addition to creative stage design and a focus on practical objectives rather than bullet hosing, the group of shooters who participate are a bunch of fun and friendly folks. Shooters included police and ex-military guys in full armor, a teenager with his father, and at least one couple in their 60s. If you’re in the Phoenix of Tucson are, it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s held at the Pima Pistol Range on the third Saturday of each month. I know I’ll be going back again!