In the last post, I told you a little bit about the Stribog and the modifications I made [click here if you missed it]. I took it to the range twice over the summer and ran about 400-500 rounds through it flawlessly – really. So let’s talk about the details.
Prepping to go to the range
One thing I have learned over the years is that most semi-automatic weapons need to break in and that includes the Stribog. Never take a weapon out of the box and expect it to work. Instead, field strip the weapon, clean and oil it. After that, cycle the slide manually a few hundred times (literally) to get a jump start on the break in process.
What happens during wear-in or break-in is that surfaces that rub together – either by sliding or rotating start to have the surface smooth down. Despite what you may see, most surfaces have thousands of tiny ridges and spikes sticking up that cause friction and screw up operation. As the weapon cycles, these little edges are worn down. A decent oil or light grease can help with this as it fills in these areas and the luibricity enables the parts to slide or rotate while they are wearing in.
This is to be expected of most weapons unless you are buying a custom firearm where the builder has probably meticulously polished everything. By the way, firearms with parkerized parts need wearing in the most. On the other hand, other finishes, such as Nickel Boron, may need it less.
What’s my tip for you? If you want to have an enjoyable first range visit, clean, lube and cycle your weapon at least 200 times.
Function tested the Stribog
Just to be safe, I function tested the Stribog to make sure the fire control system was working right:
- Make sure the weapon is clear
- Try pulling the bolt back and let go. The spring should forefully return the bolt to the home position. If it doesn’t, take the weapon apart then clean, lube and try this again. If it still doesn’t then something is wrong and you should talk to who sold it to you, Grand Power or do some searching online – just be cautious because not everyone posting advice knows what they are talking about so be a healthy skeptic.
- Cycle the bolt, pull the trigger and you should hear a click. If not, you have a problem.
- Make sure the hammer is not cocked (pull the trigger if you need to – See #1). Now, pull the trigger and hold it down and cycle the bolt – you may hear or feel a light click as you release the trigger – that should be the disconnector catching the hammer so it doesn’t follow the bolt back. When you squeeze the trigger you should hear the normal click of the hammer hittin the firing pin. If the hammer isn’t getting caught, you have a problem.
- Cycle the bolt, turn the safety to on and try to pull the trigger – it should have little to no movement and you should not hear the hammer hit the firing pin. If you do hear the hammer hit the firing pin – make sure you did turn the safety lever the corrrect direction and all of the way to safe. If it still fires, you have an unsafe weapon that needs to be serviced / returned for warranty repair.
The Stribog has been to the range twice as of my writing this. The first visit was with my friend Jim and we used 124 grain S&B FMJ ammo. I like to use the 124 grain ammo during initial break in of 9mm firearms as there is a bit more recoil impulse to overcome remaining friction.
It ran great – I think we put about 90-120 rounds through it with no problems at all. In the second trip, we ran about 60 rounds of the 124 grain S&B FMJ. We then ran probably 300 rounds of 115 grain CCI Speer FMJ bulk box ammo and wrapped up with about 30 rounds of the IMI 124 grain +P black dot hollow points through it.
What was amazing was the we had zero, none, nada failures to feed (FTF) or failures to eject (FTE). I attribute this to how I break in all semi-autos before I go to the range the first time as mentioned above. It should also tell you that the Stribog is pretty well thought out and made.
So what else did I notice?
In both cases, we were shooting paper targets and plates at about 10-15 yards from the standing position. The combination of the Stribog, Holosun Optic and F5 modular brace proved to be excellent.
Controlling the Stribog even during rapid fire was easy. The relatively small 9mm cartridge has very little recoil to begin with and fired from the Stribog with a brake, it’s very easy to keep the muzzle on target. I’m sure the brake helped some but givent he weight of the Stribog and an 8″ barrel, it probably would have been ok without it. If nothing else, the brake looks better than the threaded muzzle protector.
The trigger is perfectly decent. It’s not a match trigger but it is one of the better factory triggers I have encountered out of the box in a pistol caliber carbine. I used my Wheeler digital trigger pull gauge to collect some test data – I carefully pulled the trigger 10 times and found that the average pull was 5 pounds 10.8 ounces. The minimum was 4 pounds 10.2 ounces and the maximum pull was 6 pounds 6.8 ounces. Not bad. There is a spring set to reduce the pull that can be bought but I don’t reallly think the pull needs to be changed given close quarter use.
By the way, I always compare triggers mentally to the worst triggers I have felt out of the box. The worst trigger award goes to H&K and clone MP5s. Yuck. I’d described those triggers as pulling a truck with no wheels through the mud. With practice you get used to them – I guess with enough practice you can get used to just about anything and they do wear in a bit – but they suck out of the box.
Moving on, I do wish the charging handle was a tad bigger to spread the load a bit more. It’s jost a tad too narrow for me but that’s just me. There is a folding charging handle option I plan to try at some point.
The Stribog really delivered. It was fun, accurate and reliable at the range. I wish I had brought some other hollow points to try but it didn’t cross my mind. I actually bought a case of the IMI +P 124gr HP rounds specifically for my PCCs if self defense was required – I really only shoot FMJ at the range.
To wrap up, I like the SP9A1 Stribog and have no hesitation recommending it to others given my experience. There is a growing aftermarket so you can customize the pistol to fit your needs.
I hope this helps you out!
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