The Complementary Spouse and I spent a few hours this afternoon breaking in her new Smith and Wesson M&P 9. It was her reward for winning a bet with me that this blog would hit 500,000 visitors before the end of 2011.
We went to Bear Arms in Brevard, NC which has two indoor ranges. They have a 40-yard rifle range and a 25-yard pistol range with five bays for rifle and six for pistol. This was our first time there and I was impressed at how nice it was. At the pistol range they had plenty of room to store your extras with individual metal tables for each bay. One thing I really liked about their range setup was that they had distance markers hanging from the ceiling for each of the five target systems. Often, you are just estimating the distance based on lines on the floor.
The pistol shot well with only two or three failure to fires. It was always with some Fiocchi 130 gr. ammo so I think it was the ammo and not the pistol. The pistol digested some cheap Hungarian MFS 2000 ammo that has been problematic in certain of my pistols with no problems.
The only problem we really had was that white dot in the front sight fell out somewhere within the first 50 rounds. It didn't impact our shooting but I was bit surprised by that.
The Complementary Spouse did well. It was her first time shooting a center-fire semi-auto and she group her shots very well. She was a little surprised by the recoil but I think over time and with more practice she'll handle it well. The M&P had a lot of texturing to assure a firm grip. The downside was that the texturing under the trigger guard started rubbing her middle finger and she stopped shooting before it broke the skin. I think a piece of Moleskin on the trigger guard (or a bit of sanding) will take care of it in the future.
While this isn't the closest range to us, I think it is one we'll be going back to on a regular basis. The price was only $20 for the two of us for as long as we wanted, the pro-shop was good, they have really nice handcleaning facilities, and the couple running the shop were really nice and friendly. All in all it is a place I'd like to shoot at again.