Hawkeye’s First Gun – Part 2, by The Novice

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

First Impressions

The safety on the MAPP FS 9mm was a little stiff at first, but became easier to manipulate with use. The grip was comfortable, unusually small for a double stack 9 mm. The grip angle is also good, so that the sights line up naturally when the handgun is raised to eye level.

There was some initial creep in the single action trigger before a crisp break. The double action pull was long and hard, but since there is no decocker, I would not recommend using the gun in double action mode anyway.

The finish on the parkerized slide matches the polymer frame well.

I read the entire manual, and did not notice anything particularly surprising. They do recommend not firing +P ammunition in the firearm.

The slide is a little stiffer to rack than I would expect.

I attempted to attach a Mantis X10 Shooting Performance System device to the integrated accessory rail, and found the rail just slightly too large to accommodate the device. If I owned the gun, I might polish the rail down a little, but did not feel at liberty to do this with a borrowed firearm.

I function checked the magazines and verified that they do indeed hold 16 rounds each, although the last couple of rounds are somewhat difficult to squeeze in.

Breaking In

Many firearms makers recommend a breaking-in period of between 200 and 500 rounds or so. I wanted to simulate that process without using up a large amount of ammunition in the midst of an ammo shortage. So in the course of the next couple of days I racked the slide and dry fired the handgun a total of more than 500 times.

First Shots

The day finally came to get out to the range behind the barn and actually fire the handgun.

I fired nine groups of 10 shots each using a different kind of ammo for each of the groups. The nine types of ammo were Armscor 124 gr FMJ, Winchester White Box 115 gr FMJ, Remington UMC 115 gr FMJ, Magtech 115 gr FMJ, Perfecta 115 gr FMJ, USA Forged 115 gr FMJ, Blazer Brass 115 gr FMJ, Independence Aluminum 115 gr FMJ, and Blazer Aluminum 115 gr FMJ.

The handgun reliably fed and fired all of these types of ammunition without a hiccup. Firing offhand at 15 yards, the various ammunition types tended to group about three inches too low. By aiming three inches over the center of the target on my final group, I was able to put seven out of ten shots within one inch of the center of the target firing offhand from 15 yards. Sights that could be adjusted for elevation as well as windage would be a dramatic improvement to this firearm (in this case, the appropriate sights would be the LPA MPS2 TA30).

I have fired guns that tend to scatter their brass far and wide, but the MAPP is not one of them. All 90 casings were neatly deposited in one remarkably small area quite near where I stood while firing.

The trigger was not as forgiving as the trigger of my Walther P99, but it was easy to learn to use effectively during the course of the range session.

Some of the cheap ammo that I used was remarkably filthy. The soot that accumulated was attracted to some residual oil that I had missed during my initial cleaning. This made the residual oil much easier to find during the cleaning that followed this first range session.

Range Day

A couple of days later, a number of my friends gathered to let Hawkeye test fire their guns.

I brought the MAPP and P99.

“Glock 17″ and “Annie Oakley” brought a Glock 17, Glock 19, Glock 43, Glock 48, Kimber Micro 9, SW 22 Victory, and a Ruger 1911 with a Kimber 22lr conversion kit.

“Cram” brought a Walther PK380 and a S&W MP22.

“Cool Hand Luke” brought a SIG P938.

“SIG Andy” brought an HK VP9, a Walther PPQ, a SIG SAO Legion P226, a SIG P365, a SIG SP2022, and a couple of suppressed rifles — for dessert.

“The Natural” came to help test the MAPP.

I asked everyone to make notes about the MAPP, and Hawkeye to make notes about the various handguns he tested.

Annie liked the smooth trigger of the MAPP as well as the minimal recoil.

Glock 17 liked the smooth action and nice weight of the MAPP.

The Natural liked the minimal recoil and accuracy of the MAPP once he took the vagaries of the sights into account.

SIG Andy found the MAPP’s double action trigger to be heavy and to stack at the end, but he liked the single action trigger. He found the small slide that corresponds to the low bore axis of the handgun to be somewhat difficult to rack. He felt that the safety lever was poorly placed.

Cram felt the MAPP functioned very smoothly and reliably and classified it as “very nice”.

I liked the MAPP a lot. The handgun is a little heavy for a polymer pistol, weighing in at 1 lb 14 oz. (Heavier than a Glock 17, lighter than a Beretta 92 Compact). The higher weight and the low bore axis create extremely low felt recoil for a 9 mm. This seemed to help with my practical accuracy. I first shot a group off hand at five yards in which every shot was within one inch of the center of the target. I next shot a group offhand at ten yards in which every shot was within two inches of the center of the target.

Hawkeye liked the trigger and the minimal recoil of the MAPP. He noted that it grouped low for him.

He noted that the Glock 17 had more noticeable recoil than the MAPP, a comfortable grip, and was lighter than the MAPP.

He loved the custom trigger on Annie’s Glock 19, its solid feel in his hand, and its accuracy. He would have preferred a longer grip.

Hawkeye liked the smooth action, great trigger and comfortable grip of the Walther PPQ.

He liked the trigger of the HK VP9.

He loved the SIG SAO Legion P226 best of all, especially the smooth operation and great trigger.

He was surprised that the SIG P938 felt so natural in his hand in spite of its small size. He was able to get consistently good results as he shot it. He had similar results with the SIG P365.

He really enjoyed the SIG SP2022. The grip felt great in his hand, it was a little heavier for its size, and this led to reduced felt recoil and consistent groups.

Hawkeye concluded that if money were no object, he would buy a SIG SAO Legion P226. In view of his budget, he was going to look for his second choice, a SIG SP2022, instead. The MAPP was his third choice.

SIG Andy had an extra SP2022 that he could imagine parting with, so he and Hawkeye are currently engaged in negotiations. Hawkeye has told me that his first pistol will be a SIG SP2022. And that is why I selected the photo for the top of this article.

Since both the double action trigger and the safety of the MAPP seemed a little stiff during our range day testing, I subsequently pulled the double action trigger a total of 500 times, and turned the safety on and off a total of 500 times. This seemed to smooth both items out a little more.

MAPP versus P99

If you have a good experience with a handgun, it can be hard to tell if the results are because the handgun is good itself or if the good results are because you are having a good range day. Testing the firearm side by side with one with which you are already familiar can give you a better baseline for comparison.

I took the MAPP to the range to test it side by side with my Walther P99. First I fired the MAPP from rest from 15 yards to see if my impression of how it groups was correct. The impression that it groups low was confirmed.

Next I fired four 10 shot groups offhand from 15 yards from each handgun in the following order: MAPP, P99, P99, MAPP, MAPP, P99, P99, MAPP. This was a comparative test of practical accuracy for each handgun.

I aimed the MAPP three inches high for each group because it has a tendency to shoot low. I accidently forgot to do this on the second MAPP group, so I dropped that group and the second P99 group when I calculated my final results.

Using the MAPP, I put 80% of my shots within two inches of the center of the target. Using the P99 I put 83% of my shots within two inches of the center of the target. That is quite a bit better than I usually shoot, so it is good that I had the P99 to tell me that I was having a good range day, and that the MAPP is not some magic gun that makes me shoot better. I did have the impression that if I had adjustable sights so that I did not have to shoot the MAPP using “Kentucky windage”, I might have been able to shoot it more accurately than the P99.


I felt honored that Hawkeye asked for my help selecting his first handgun, and feel that my friends and I were able to give him a good introduction to the world of handguns. We plan to continue to mentor Hawkeye as a new gun owner so that he can continue to develop his handgun skills.

I was very impressed with the MAPP, so much so that I decided to buy it. This is the first firearm that I have reviewed for an article that I have actually decided to buy after reviewing. I would have no hesitation about recommending it to anyone as an accurate, reliable and fun handgun choice.


Rock Island Armory was kind enough to loan me the MAPP FS 9 mm for testing and evaluation. They also provided me with 100 rounds of ammunition. I tried not to let their kindness influence my evaluations. I believe that the processes that I laid out and the help of my friends enabled me to draw objective conclusions.


  1. I used to dry fire my Colt .45 auto a zillion times when I shot competition in the military. With intuition that comes with age, I would never dry fire any firearm without snap caps. Just a little extra peace of mind.

  2. Thanks for sharing with us. I am glad Hawkeye is waking up and that he has you and your friends to provide him such thorough advice.
    I like Rock Island also. Mine was a fair price and I’ve never had any issues with it. (Even the extra grease was kind of a bonus, because we regularly have about eight kazillion percent humidity here too, and like you said I’d hate to receive it rusty!)

  3. It’s always awesome to bring someone into the shooting fold for the first time. I have had several folks approach me to help them select handguns and learn how to shoot em this year at work.

    One of the guys bought one of the niftiest little 9mms I’ve seen; sig p365 SAS with the nightsight that is actually built into the frame.

    At this point though 9mm is probably the worst caliber to buy into. Just because that’s what everyone and their momma is going into. I actually sold all my 9mm that I bought as an investment back when you could get HSTs for forty cents a round, because pricing and availability has gotten so ridiculous.

      1. The most common caliber you can find readily available. That’s going to vary region to region. .357 mag, .357 sig, and .45 auto are still pretty abundant here where Iive now. I heard .40 is pretty easy to come by where I used to live down south.

Comments are closed.