Recently, I posted an article which discussed the difference and some benefits of having a light vs. heavy shooting setup. Having a light gun makes transitions faster and a heavier setup offers stability while shooting targets. Needless to say, this sparked a lot of thought and great discussion. The first article focused on Rimfire Rifles and this follow-up installment will involve Rimfire Pistols.
It was at the 2019 Rimfire Challenge World Rimfire Championhips where I was able to handle the much anticipated CWA new double stack grip width platform. The grip is compatible with other time tested 2011 parts and topped off with the CWA slide. My initial feeling is this setup is going to be great for people who want to transition between double stack guns such as a 2011s commonly found in limited or open in both Steel Challenge and USPSA. Being able to shoot the same platform and having a familiar feel and grip was going to make training with one gun transferrable to other divisions.
Recently, I purchased a Sig Sauer Legion chambered in 9mm. After touching one for the first time I knew I had to have one. The grip is tungsten infused so all of the weight was in my hands with a lighter slide. After the long awaiting phone call came in and I rushed to the gun store to pick up my Legion, it was only when I took it to the range where a sense of confirmation was displayed on the timer. I have always liked a little bit heavier handgun and my transitions were faster than my 2011 lighter open gun.
After some discussion with Chet Whistle, owner of CWA, I wanted a heavier gun but not too heavy with the weight in my hands. When I saw and shot my new CWA .22 for the first time I knew Chet had nailed exactly what I was looking for. When shooting the gun for the first time, the sights did not even move. Transitions were steady and follow-up shot were blistering as fast as I could pull the trigger. The gun weighs in at a precise 41 ounces. Below is a YouTube link to a slow-motion video of first shots. A lot of people look at the muzzle of the gun and see there is little movement. As an open shooter you do not look at the muzzle when shooting, we look through the optic. In this video you will see a near perfect “return” of the gun. The optic is in the same exact place every time when the gun returns to battery. This is why you have seen video and reactions where people are in love with the gun after shooting it for the first time.
The grip is machined out of aluminum. The grip safety (albeit pinned) is made out of aluminum as well. The frame, with a 2011 is where the slide rides on the gun, is made out of steel. Below are a few pictures where weight has been removed from the frame to keep the weight in the back of the gun and allow it to stay fast and flat when shooting. Note, the trigger guard is double undercut to allow your hands to get higher. I particularly like the recess of the grip at the grip safety. This allows me to cant my right wrist more forward to help with recoil management and keep the gun on target.
So, what does all of this mean? I have been shooting an all-aluminum CWA for the past season, so I have done a side by side comparison. As a person who shoots a lot of Steel Challenge, I have a lot of data on how I shoot these specific stages. My first test was Speed Option. I shot 5 strings cold, you don’t have accurate data if you shoot 500 rounds on one stage and take the top five times, and my average was .14 seconds faster on each string. This is a stage with wide transitions. The results were promising. What I did notice, as a shooter, is the gun was right where I expected it to be before I pulled the trigger. It was stable, flat, and fast. Next was one of the faster stages, Roundabout. As outlined above, I performed the same test a few days later. My roundabout times were .10 seconds faster on average, per string.
As I have written about before, we all have shooting tendencies. One of my tendencies with a handgun is I don’t grip the gun consistently hard when I am shooting. Each time I get up to the firing line I tell myself to grip the gun and mid-string I seem to loosen my grip from time to time. With the Legion as well as my new CWA .22 the additional weight helps keep the gun flat and stable to make up for my technique deficiencies.
Whether you are one of the fastest pistol shooters in the world or just starting, I would put a CWA in your hands so you can feel and see the difference! They not only look great, they shoot amazing! If you would like more information about CWAs products, please reach out to me and I will get you in touch with the right people.
See you out on the range soon!