KKM Match Grade Glock 26 Replacement Barrel Field Test & Review

8” groups at 85 yards…with a subcompact?

A couple of months ago, I decided to upgrade the little 3.42″ barrel in my Glock 26.

I changed the ammo I was carrying from 124gr to 147gr and the stock barrel didn’t seem to like it as much.

Specifically, I have steel in my back yard at 55 and 85 yards and my hit percentages dropped considerably with some 147 grain ammo.

So, I ordered a KKM match grade replacement barrel.

But what does “match grade” mean on a defensive pistol with a 3.5” barrel?  Does it mean anything on a gun that small?

In light of our discussion on training for the extremes this week, I decided to find out.

I got a couple of 4’x4’ sheets of corrugated plastic, ran 1” blue painter’s tape horizontally and vertically to make a target that I could see at 85 yards, cut a slit in the plastic so I could hang them over the heads of my steel targets, and started shooting.

Here’s what the setup looked like…I’m aiming at the 55 yard 4 foot x 4 foot target and the 85 yard target is to the left of it:

 

What I did was shoot 3 rounds of 124gr at the 55 yard target, then 3 at the 85 yard target.

Then, I got on my spotting scope and recorded the hits.

Then I did the same with 147gr and 165gr, except I shot 4x165gr at the 55 yard target.

The specific ammo doesn’t really matter, because the performance is specific to my barrel, but I used Freedom Munitions 124gr SuperMatch, 147gr Hush, and 165gr Hush.  Use my DOPE (data on past engagements or data on personal equipment) as a guide, but you need to know your own gear.

The test was barely what I’d consider semi-controlled.  I sat on a step-stool and rested my hands on the railing of our deck.  I limited some of the variables, but not all.

I’ve got a couple of other modifications on this pistol…a Glock extended slide release, a Zev Fulcrum trigger, and a tungsten guide rod.

I don’t own and did not use a ransom rest or sand bags, which would have improved performance, but the results were eye opening, even without a rest or sand bags.

Here are the results from 55 yards with a Glock 26 subcompact and a KKM match replacement barrel.  124gr hits are red, 147 are green, and 165 are yellow.  The tape is 1″ painter’s tape and the head is 6″x6″ for scale.

 

55 yard groups kkm Glock 26 Replacement Barrel field test and review

I’ve been shooting steel with sub-compacts at 100-200 yards for a few years, and I’ve taken a few coyote at 85+ yards, but I’ve never shot paper, so I didn’t know what to expect.

For comparison, a 6″ group at 50 yards and a 12″ group at 100 yards from a rest is pretty good with a defensive pistol.

Frankly, I was shocked at the results.

7/10 hits were within 2” of the midline.  It’s pretty clear that the 2 “flyers” were user error.  Keep in mind that a 1/64” shift of your front sight on a subcompact will move your impact 6” at 55 yards.  That’s less than half a millimeter.

The 85 yard target was just as surprising…the 147 grain was able to hold well under an 8″ group, and I’ll claim responsibility for the flyers which are 7″ left of the centerline.  That 7″ at 85 yards represents a 1/82″ shift of the front sight.

85 yard groups kkm Glock 26 Replacement Barrel field test and review

So, what’s this tell us?

  1. Since I didn’t use a ransom rest or sand bags, I can guarantee you that the gun/barrel is capable of even more accuracy than what you see in these pictures.
  2. Until you know exactly what your gun is capable of, it’s easy to blame your hardware for software (you) related problems. This is a natural tendency, but it will limit your ability to identify problems and improve.  Any time I miss a target at these distances, I can skip the gun as the reason and go straight to diagnosing what I did wrong.
  3. There’s a tendency when shooting at a distance to have a friend call where your shots are hitting so that you can adjust your aim. That ONLY works when the misses are happening because of hardware issues.  If the misses are software related and you try a hardware fix, like changing where you aim or your hold, you’re going to spend a lot of time chasing your misses.
  4. If the subcompact version of a gun that many call a “plastic piece of junk” can shoot like this at 85 yards, it’s fair to assume that ANY gun can shoot tighter groups than this at 21 feet. And, if it’s not, making changes to your fundamentals will tighten your groups faster than making changes to your gun.
  5. It’s good to know YOUR DOPE for your gear. The drop at 50 yards for my pistol SHOULD be a couple of inches.  Instead, it’s 5-7 inches high.  Barrels, sight heights, and how your particular eyes interpret your sights are going to make your specific performance different than average performance.  If the black paint is worn off of the top edge of your front sight, it can cause an optical illusion that makes the sights appear level when the front sight is really elevated.  I go over the edges of my sights with black appliance paint or black “sharpie” paint every month or two to make sure they’re true.  In this case, it’s been about 6 weeks since I’ve touched up my sights.That being said, here’s a drop chart for pistols that will get you in the ballpark out to 200 yards.  With pistol ammo at these distances, the biggest factor is muzzle velocity and not bullet weight or BC, so that’s what I use on the chart.
    (We’re going to have this printed on wallet sized cards in the near future…let me know if you’re interested.)
  6. I know, with my Glock 26 and this KKM barrel that if I line up my sights with the belly (from 50 to 85 yards) or the base of the neck (at 100 yards), I’m going to get hand sized, center mass groups, as long as I do my part. This is DOPE that ALL law enforcement should learn about their sidearm and that’s not bad for anyone who carries to know…but more importantly…
  7. If you practice dry firing precisely at the center of a 1” target in your house and take that exact same skill outside, you’ll be able to aim at the center of a man sized target anywhere from 1” to 100 yards and expect to make good hits. The exact same fundamentals work in both situations.

What’s it look like with sub-second splits?

55, 85, and 100 yard gunfights with a pistol are the definition of extreme and unlikely.  But knowing your gun develops earned confidence which, in and of itself, increases high stress performance.

But more importantly, distance shooting with a pistol tests your ability to execute the fundamentals precisely.

Can you keep a hard, clear focus on the front sight, or will you fall for the siren song of glancing at the target?

Can you press the trigger smoothly and straight back to the rear while maintaining perfect sight alignment, or will lateral movement in your trigger press, torque in your grip, or wrist movement cause the bullet to miss the mark?

When you train to be able to execute the fundamentals precisely and automatically, without having to think about them, you’ll be able to perform at a much higher level in a self-defense situation where speed and stress are too high to think through the process.

I shared a couple of emails this week on how training for “average” shooting situations will make you ill-prepared for extreme situations, but how training for the extremes will make “average” or typical self-defense shooting situations much easier to handle successfully.

I’ve got a video showing an example of this where former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham demonstrates shooting steel with a Glock 17 at 200+ yards.

 


Another guy throws lead for the first 1:20, and then Chris nails it with his first shot.

Chris isn’t your average instructor.

He provides advanced weapons and tactics training to personnel from USG (US Government) agencies prior to deployment to high-threat zones.

More than that, he’s one of a relatively small group of guys who actually goes downrange and provides sustainment training to them while they’re in high threat zones.

  •     If you’re an instructor – Chris is one of the guys who you want to be picking stuff up from to use in your own classes.
  •     If you’re a shooter – Chris is an instructor who is teaching based on first hand experience downrange against determined attackers.  His teaching isn’t stuff that worked one or two times 5, 10, or 15 years ago…it’s stuff that he or his students have more than likely used in the last few months, weeks, or even days in real life encounters.

Does 30-10 work?

One SWAT shooter was recently in danger of being kicked out of his unit.  He went through Chris’ 30-10 Pistol Training and not only qualified, but is now one of the top 3 shooters in his unit.

It works so good that one VERY well known military and law enforcement tactical instructor (who I haven’t asked if I could use his name yet) now requires his students to go through the 30-10 Pistol Training before he’ll let them take a class with him!

Look, live training is a great and necessary part of becoming a safe, well rounded shooter.  But you’re not going to develop habits and muscle memory/neural pathways at a 1, 2, or even 7 day class.  30-10 is how you can develop rock-solid shooting fundamentals that will stick with you and will stay strong when you add movement, tactics, and stress on top of them.

Learn more now by going >HERE<

And you can get the Pistol Drop Charts along with the Tactical Vision Training Course >HERE<

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

  • Mike

    Reply Reply April 7, 2017

    When available, I would love to get one of your bullet drop charts from you. Please let me know.
    Mike

  • Dave Stark

    Reply Reply September 7, 2017

    Very interested in your bullet drop chart for pistol.

  • left coast chuck

    Reply Reply September 7, 2017

    Every weekend somewhere in the country long range silhouette shooters regularly shoot at 25 meters, 50 meters, 75 meters and 200 meters. The targets are steel chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams. The rams weight 75 pounds. In order to score a point, you must knock the target down, not just hit it. There is nothing more frustrating than to hit a turkey and watch it turn a full 90 degrees. Long range silhouette shooters assume weird positions on the ground because the rule preclude any portion of the gun or gun arm touching the ground. However, if they were able to lie prone and rest their elbows on the ground or rest their elbows on the ground and the barrel of their pistol on a pack or some other steady object, I am quite certain most experience LRPSs would knock down all the targets.

    Obviously some shooters use single shot pistols with 14′ barrels, but there is a category for revolvers standing offhand and shooting. Granted again, they use 6″ or 7.5 inch barrels, and usually a .44 magnum in order to generate the foot-pounds of energy necessary to knock over a 75 pound ram at 200 meters.

    Long range pistol shooting is not some weird aberration. It is done on a regular basis. It does take practice. It takes quality barrels and quality ammo. And most importantly, as pointed out in the article, it takes quality software. For most of us our guns shoot way better than we do. To poorly paraphrase Shakespeare, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our guns but in ourselves.”

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 7, 2017

      Absolutely awesome, Chuck. Haven’t heard from you in awhile and I was getting ready to reach out and make sure you were OK. Thanks 🙂

  • John Coats

    Reply Reply September 7, 2017

    I was just asking around for something like this a few months ago. I would definitely be interested!

    Thanks, Coats

  • left coast chuck

    Reply Reply September 7, 2017

    I would like to add to John King’s comment. Yes, the Marines did use a better rifle than the Japanese. The Marines used the M-1 Grand which was a 8-round semi-automatic rifle with excellent battle sights. General Patton called it the finest battle weapon ever invented. I trained on the M-1 and carried one through four years active duty and qualified with it yearly for four years in the active reserve and it deserves that reputation in my opinion.

    The Japanese used the 5-shot bolt action Arisaka. That was not a bad battle weapon. It had an undeserved reputation for poor quality. Yes, the rifles that were produced after 1944 were rough in finish and ugly, but the basic design was excellent. The Marines just overwhelmed the Japanese with superior firepower. It was more complicated than just that, but it certainly helped.

    Several decades ago an amateur gunsmith rechambered a 6.5 Arisaka to .30-06. The first time he fired it, he noticed that it kicked exceedingly harder than when it fired as a 6.5 mm. He took it to a real gunsmith who determined that the chamber was .30-06 sure enough, but the barrel was still 6.5mm, somewhat smaller than 7.62mm. The amateur had neglected to rebarrel the gun. The gun had swaged down the bullet to 6.5 mm and not blown up the action. The rifle was sent to the NRA who tested the function as they too could not believe that the action stood up to the pressures that must have been involved. The rifle again stood up to the test (after taking precautions for the testers to be protected from the expected shrapnel blast). The whole thing was written up in American Rifleman magazine, the official magazine of the NRA and I personally read the article, so I have every reason to believe its veracity. However, both the NRA and I do not recommend fire-forming 30 caliber bullets in a 6.5mm barrel. If you need 6.5 mm bullets, go buy factory formed in that caliber.

  • scott w

    Reply Reply September 12, 2017

    Would like to have the drop charts as well. Really like my dry fire cards. now if I could just get my wife motivated to use them also. 😉

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