The Utility of 9mm Braced Pistols, by Francis, The Semi-Prepper

I use the term Semi-Prepper to describe myself as I live in an HOA in a small college town adjacent to a large Southern City. I’m 75 years old and just can’t see myself becoming completely self-sufficient. I honestly feel as a country we are in la-la land. I spend a lot of time reading about history and the failures of leadership, empires, and countries.

Some historians will tell you the flourishing life of an empire is about 240 years, many disagree. Do the math since 1776. While I have to admit the history of the United States is filled with many problems, we were on the right side of fixing our problems. I don’t think we are going in that direction right now. If we keep going this way we will be gone in 200 years.

Think of our wars recently:

Korea: Prior to the North Korean invasion, Dean Acheson, the US Secretary of State at that time stated Korea was not part of our sphere or zone of influence. That was a green light to the North Koreans to attack. He was the top guy in the State Department and a very idiotic thinker, everybody loved him.

Vietnam: It was covered up as we knew Diem was corrupt and worked to destroy the Buddhists. LBJ kept going as he wanted to win reelection and McNamara knew it was a hopeless cause early on but kept lying. I’ve never understood why there has been no analysis of the fact that we were killing Asians and we were basically white.

Somalia: I knew we were in trouble when Clinton said on TV that we were going to bring democracy to Somalia. They are clan oriented, can’t read or write and….Clinton should be in jail.

Afghanistan: Very tribal. The British learned this in the late 1840’s. Presidents should read more history and hire anthropologists. Bush should be in jail, Cheney should get worse for the Iraq WMD’s.

I feel therefore I should be prepared for some kind of failure in the USA.

Thus another article about firearms.

My most recent SurvivalBlog article was about using a red dot sight with a pistol. For those of you not yet 75 years old, believe me your shooting skills do degrade as you age. So, looking for something to improve my accuracy with a pistol I proceeded to get a pistol with stabilizing brace.

Here is a picture of the firearm I’m discussing now. It is a legal pistol with a pistol brace. It has flip-up sights, a red dot sight and a 3x magnifier. It is a 9mm that takes Glock magazines. In the photo, the protective shield is off the red dot as I was cleaning it. The gun is an Angstadt Arms UDP-9. I added a red dot sight, Sightmark magnifier and the flip-up sights. I picked this because I hurt my shoulders a few years ago exercising (my friend who is 74 asked his Doctor what he should be exercising with his arms and shoulders and the doctor replied small tuna fish cans)…old guys deteriorate quickly. He went to a rehab shop and I just waited til it didn’t hurt anymore. His still does. Sooo, sometimes now I cannot use my left arm properly and I prefer a greater sight radius (more about that later).

Dimensions: 9-3/4 inches high, 21-3/4 inches long (26-5/8in with brace extended) and 2-1/2 inches wide but 4 inches if Sightmark magnifier is folded off to the right as firearm is pointed. Attached to the Picatinny rail, the magnifier can be flipped off to the side away from the sight picture, it is easy to install and use. At further distances it is what I need. The total weight: 6 lbs.

Comments on the braced pistol:

1. The ATF has closed for comments their new proposal to harass legal firearm owners using pistol braces. I have read their entire proposal. To me, it reads like they are trying to make law (which in this case only Congress can do that) and in the end they are going to try to make pistol braced firearms (legal for years) into SBR’s (short barreled rifles) and their rationale? Who knows? An SBR requires an additional $200 and about a year waiting time for ATF approval. The ATF is not specific; their proposal basically says “We’ll know it when we see it.” I’ve tried to find a country but I think the US is the only country in the world with the SBR restriction. Typical US government over reach. The attacks on legal gun owners will continue.

2. What are the components?
The gun is an Angstadt Arms UDP-9 with a lot of upgrades. The receiver is made from 7075 aluminum and takes Glock magazines. The magazine release is bigger and easier to use than most ARs.
The forward lower grip is M-LOK AFG – Angled Fore Grip, the flip-up sights (Magpul MBUS) and the pistol grip (Magpul).

The brace is a standard SB Tactical SB3 pistol brace.

The red dot sight is a Burris Fast Fire 3 with Strike Industries mount to the Picatinny rail. The Burris mount is okay but it’s just a nut to turn to tighten while the Strike Industries is a screw that can be easily tightened, much easier to use and holds zero quite well. To turn on the red dot, I have to use my left hand index fingernail. It is sometimes difficult to turn on because it’s recessed and difficult to reach (I should keep my fingernail longer so that I can turn it on.). It comes with a protective cover that works well. It turns off after 9 hours. It will run on 1 battery for 5,000 hours. In addition, it has 4 adjustments that occur as you keep clicking the on button. It used to go from larger to smaller then off. The first one, after a few seconds goes from larger to a light adjusted size. Also, it does not hold the adjustment it was last on, you have to turn it on and select the size of the red dot. A big benefit is an extra battery can be stored in the sight.

The Sightmark 3x magnifier comes with a quick disconnect so it can be removed from the Picatinny rail easily. Left on the rail while I am holding the pistol, it can easily be rotated off to the side if I don’t want to use the magnifier.

The ambidextrous safety selector and charging handle are from Radian Weapons.
The trigger is a CMC. The trigger pull is 3.0 lbs. I never gave any thought to triggers before as I use the factory triggers but this CMC trigger has made my accuracy much better.

Having never given thought to “improving” selector switches, take down pins, triggers, etc, I now realize their benefit, they are worth it.

Sight radius: Sight radius is defined as the distance from the rear to front sight. This does not apply to the red dot but if you have to go to ”iron sights”, the sight radius is much larger for the braced pistol than for a standard pistol. For example, the full sized Springfield XD I have is 5-1/2 inches. For the braced pistol it is just less than 9 inches. Why am I concerned? The red dot is battery operated. Ask the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan how many batteries they carried. I believe there might be a time when I must be prepared for a “no batteries” situation.

With no batteries (thus no red dot), I’ll have to rely on the iron sights. Note: Magpul sights are very sturdy plastic/metal.

So, how does it shoot with iron sights and the red dot? How is accuracy affected? Remember, if you’re shooting with both hands you will be more accurate if your hands are not close together (as with a pistol). Thus with the braced pistol my hands are much farther away from each other than with a pistol when shooting with both hands. With one hand my shooting is a lot worse than with two hands or using one hand and leaning on a support.

A slight deviation in aim for a pistol may mean the shot will be missed but with the same deviation of the braced pistol the shot will hit closer to the target. This is why Col Jeff Cooper said: “a pistol is what you use to get to your rifle”. The photo below shows 5 bullet holes together below the bullseye. Using the red dot, shooting was at 25 yards with me sitting at a stand, 5 bullets.

The photo below shows results using the red dot and standing at 25 yards, using just my right arm and leaning my shoulder against a vertical support, about 7 bullets.

Using the iron sights my accuracy was less in both cases.

I used Federal 9mm 95 grain Jacketed Solid Point; these are like semi-wadcutters which I purchased at a gun show several years ago. I cannot find them anywhere now. The cartridge is copper-clad with lead inside, the outside serrations are what you will find on Jacketed Hollow Point self-defense rounds.

Wadcutters are more accurate than hollowpoint or target ammunition; I don’t think Federal makes them anymore as they are not shown on their website. Wad cutters are good for determining accuracy of the firearm but not for personal protection.

As things heat up, I’ve given thought to getting a sling bag to carry the braced pistol but they will have to get a lot hotter i.e. The End Of The World As We Know It. The braced pistol will fit in a sling bag.

God bless and pray to the Lord for guidance.