I have a few ways of letting of steam and keeping my eye sharp. Two of them are the batting cage and the firing range.

Today I went shooting with a friend on the Minneapolis Police Department in really old stomping grounds, near to where I went to High School, was in Scouts, etc.

We sent a lot of rounds down range today and I gave my XD-S a great work out. My hand is killing me!


Note the nice muzzle flash!

My hand suffered a bit from the day.

And now another form of therapy!


And an actual fortune inside of a platitude!






And a refreshing beverage!

And Ray came to visit.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Theodore says:

    Fr Z..

    Looks like fun times. I like to wear a shooting glove to reduce “slide bite.”

  2. LarryW2LJ says:


    Taking a radio out to the park would be way easier on your hand ;) Although I suppose if you used a straight key …………

  3. Ralph says:

    Looks like fun!

    That’s a nice looking range. I wish I had access to a quality indoor range.

    Around here, our outdoor options are excellent – not so much on the indoor. In the summer it can get pretty toasty on the outdoor range.

    Father, do you reload? I don’t right now. But with the cost of ammo and how hard it has been lately to acquire – I am thinking about taking it up.

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    I never thought about blisters. Do people who shot often develop calluses?

    The Chicken

  5. Andy Lucy says:

    Fr, if I might make a suggestion. Adding a beaver tail to the grip will help TREMENDOUSLY to cut down on slide bite. They only cost $15 or so, and are very easy to install. BTW, did that blister on your pinky come from shooting? Maybe get it caught in between the magazine and the mag well?

  6. inexcels says:

    Looks fun. I’ve been wanting to get a decent handgun ’cause the only one I have right now is a crappy .22 that jams all the time… but handguns are so expensive I keep putting it off, month after month. Hard to find CPL classes around here, too.

  7. inexcels says:

    Btw, just for future reference, if anyone has recommendations for a RELIABLE, concealable, and preferably affordable handgun, do feel free to let me know.

  8. The nasty blister is from a fast mag change with the XD-S, which is really small. I came to the conclusion today that it is a great CC option, though it has only a straight 5. I struggled a bit today… don’t know why… with the .45 and the .9mm, but it was instructive. once I settled down I did better. But even the rounds that got away a bit were within the good zone.

    But I do like the little XD-S. So did my friend, whose hand is much larger. He shot with real accuracy at 21′. I did pretty well too toward the end, even one handed.

  9. StWinefride says:

    Sorry, Father Z, but firing a gun is not “Therapy”.

    [How right you are! Firing a gun with accuracy is therapy!]

  10. Mary Jane says:

    Looks like fun – except for the blister. :(

  11. Andy Lucy says:

    inexcels… I personally carry a SigPro 2340 as my EDC, but I also use a Bersa Thunder in .380. You can find used 2340’s in the neighborhood of $4-450 and used Bersa Thunder’s for $250-300. I am also partial to the Walther PK380, but they are a bit more pricey… and the magazines are astronomical.

  12. DisturbedMary says:

    As for the fortune all I can say is: Uh oh.

  13. wanda says:

    Ahhh, sounds like a great stress reliever! Nothing like the smell of gunpowder and a follow up of dumplings! Mmmmm.

    I have no doubt about that great and bold adventure in your future!

  14. acardnal says:

    Is that a blood blister on your pinkie finger? Ouch!

    Did you get a chance to try the UpLULA mag loader yet and what did u think of it?

  15. Jamesy says:

    As we’ve been dis-armed here in the UK, I like to let off steam by sharpening a stick…and not just any stick, a very BIG stick.

  16. inexcels says:

    Thanks Andy Lucy for the recommendations (and Fr. for recommending the XD-S). I’ll have to look into these and see which one appears to suit my fancy best.

  17. O. Possum says:

    Fr. Z, for a ‘fun to shoot’ gun, you just need to get a nice 1911. Enough with these post-modern plastic blasphemies! :P

    [Feel free to suggest which one I should get and then send a donation to cover the cost!]

  18. dwrobles says:

    inexcels – look into a s+w 457. Its a compact .45, small, light, bare bones and inexpensive, but utterly reliable. S+w stopped making them so look for a used one.

    Fr Z. You may look into keeping your elbows bent as you shoot. Its much easier to manage recoil and the follow up shots come much faster. Keep up the good work with both the Faith and the gun.

  19. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Concealable guns, small as they are, oblige care with respect to slide bite. This happened to me six years ago. The owner of the gun range, a crusty New Jerseyian, when I showed him the wound, handed me a Band-Aid and said “Do you think you’re the first person that happened to?”

    Father and Inexcels: a .380 is highly concealable, yet some folks think it doesn’t have enough stopping power. So perhaps the .380 is best only for a backup gun. Consider a Kahr .45 or even a 9mm, respectively the Kahr PM45 with two 5 round magazines, and the Kahr PM9 with two magazines, one 6 rounds, another 7. Some now come with an external safety. I’d get night sights. I’d keep either one in a pocket holster. Check out Kahr Arms website. You can telephone your friends and say “I got a new Kahr!”, and then spell the word.

    I suppose there will always be a debate between the American .45 and the European 9mm. My gun guru prefers the .45, saying “It lets in the most light, and lets out the most blood.” Yet the 9mm does the job and has more rounds.

  20. Ryan says:

    Nice recomendations all.

    Inexcels – my EDC is the Sig P232 in .380. Not a micro gun mind you. its a nice shooter. Put good rounds in it and its plenty to get you back to your real gun as they say. Similar in size and form to the Walther PPK. A beautiful firearm.

    For the Night stand a Beretta PX4 compact in .40 SW. Has a rotating barrel to reduce muzzle flip. Great shooter.

    But the best gun is the one you have… Peace

  21. inexcels says:

    dwrobles and Sid Cundiff: Thanks for the additional suggestions!

  22. Kerry says:

    Inexcels, hello. Might I suggest you go to a gun shop and/or firearms range and talk with them, and put your hand on some firearms to see how they feel. Finally, rent and shoot a couple of them that feel good to your hand. If they are at all reluctant to assist a raw novice, which I doubt, don’t hesitate to try another place. It is their job to educate you about cartridges, revolvers vs. automatics, single action, double action, safeties and de-cockers, racking slides and other terms now just jargon. They should help you hold them properly, how to establish a sight picture etc.You can do this. You might also go to Bob-Owens (dot) com and read his three part, “So you want to buy a handgun”. Though I am not a revolver guy, there are lots of nice Smith & Wesson revolvers that, I believe, tend to cost less than automatics. Welcome to the 2nd Amendment.

  23. DavidR says:


    I carry a S&W mod. 642 in .38 special in a DeSantis pocket holster; I mostly wear tactical pants, and this is hidden but accessible. Feed it Hornady Critical Defense +P 110 gr.

    Also carry a Sig mod. 232 in .380 in an ankle rig; feed it 90 gr. Hornady Critical Defense. The closest I ever came to pulling one was a guy with an aggressive(?) pit bull. Dog was on a lead, but could have been on my wife or myself in less than a second.

    Whatever you decide to go with, practice, practice, practice. And if you’ve got one that jams (I assume you’re talking about a pistol) 1. make sure you grip it strongly, or 2. get rid of it. It’s not worth the frustration, and you’ll not learn to shoot well.

    Oh, and try a different brand/configuration of ammo; some guns don’t like hollow points.


  24. Singing Mum says:

    Lets hope that the real adventure isn’t in terms of computer issues. You’ve had enough of those adventures for a while, I dare say!
    All this shooting really makes me miss my Dad, a really good hunter and good marksman. There’s fewer and fewer of his type out here in the land of fruits and nuts.

  25. Arele says:

    inexcels, for concealed carry, it depends very much on who you are and where (on your person, purse, ankle, etc) you plan to carry concealed. Also, how familiar you are with handguns and how often you plan or have access to practice.

    Although many people talk about “stopping power” it is also true that “the best gun is the one you have” and we usually recommend something more practical for women – a .38 revolver. It’s easy to use, won’t jam, and you don’t have to chamber a round (which can take quite a bit of arm strength, especially in some of the smaller concealables on today’s market, like the Ruger LCP.)

    Under stress, when you really, really need a gun, your fine motor shills will go out the window and again, a revolver is pretty much “point and click.”

    A good, affordable revolver is a Taurus, but I prefer the Smith and Wesson hammerless Airweight. The hammerless won’t get caught as you draw it or let dirt into its mechanism.

    This recommendation doesn’t just come from me, but from the chair of our state Association of Shooting Ranges who has years and years of experience.

    In my opinion, after all is said and done, simple is better for self defense.

  26. Three cheers for the Pistol Packin’ Padre!
    And as far as bold and dashing adventure is concerned… I note that the Mark of Zorro and the Mark of Zuhlsdorf are exactly identical: Z.

  27. Ed the Roman says:

    Father, 7 round mags for the .45 XDs are available.

  28. EXCHIEF says:

    inexcels…while I agree totally that a .38 small frame revolver is a good choice given its simplicity I have recently purchased a small (17 oz) 9mm semi auto which holds 10 in the magazine and one in the chamber for a total of 11 rounds. Not bad for a pocket carry CCW piece. It is U S made, has a lifetime warranty and retails for under $300 and that includes 2 magazines. It is made by a relatively new gun manufacturer (SCCY). The model is the CPX-2. Reviews in a number of gun mags have been very good. Prior to carrying it as a defense weapon I put several hundred rounds of various ammo through it without a glitch. Just another option for you to consider.

  29. FXR2 says:

    IMHO Guys the Glock is the best gun for the money. Kahr, S&W M&P, and The vaunted Springfield XD S are all somewhat more expensive Glock clones. I like the Kahr, The S&W M&P Compact is a smaller double stack, and the M&P Shield is a single stack and has a large beavertail which prevents the slide bite.

    Stopping power is a bit of a misnomer. Shot placement is paramount. Unless you catch the brain stem behind the T made by the eyes and the bridge of the nose, you don’t stop anyone, they bleed to death. That takes minutes, a long time in a gun fight.

    The .380 ACP also known as 9 mm kurtz was once very popular, but is now believed to be woefully under powered compared to the 9 mm parabellum. Traditionalist prefer the venerable .45 ACP. The FBI experimented with the 10 mm and then under loaded it to what they determined were optimal terminal ballistics in the FBI load 10 mm. Those 10 mm cases were eventually shortened to become the .40 S&W with identical ballistics. The .40 S&W has a sharper recoil than the .45 ACP and the 9 mm has minimal recoil. Each a good choice depending on your size and ability to control the recoil. I prefer the .40 S&W because it has superior ballistics and allows me to carry more rounds.

    The bottom line is under stress, once our heart rate gets above 150 bpm, you lose the ability to perform fine and complex motors skills. Those skills include the ability to aim and fire a handgun.

    Just have some one point a gun at you and see where your heart rate is.

    The best choice for home defense is a 12 gauge shotgun sans choke firing high brass # 6 bird shot or #4 buck shot. Best of all the length of the barrel and the 1″ a yard spread helps to make firing this a gross motor skill which does not deteriorate under stress.

    Never forget the best gun you have is the one you are wearing, but discretion and good sense save more lives than handguns. [I like the option of running and/or hiding. Hopefully that will always be the option!]

    Sorry for the rant this has been my experience of more than 25 years of law enforcement. If you are going to carry a handgun, train regularly, be careful, be smart and remember your limitations.

    Saint Michael the Archangel…

    Good luck and prayers,


  30. Desertfalcon says:

    I looked at the XD-S once, and didn’t like the feel of it that much. Just didn’t fit my hand, and from the evidence, it may not your’s either, Father. [I have now sent a couple hundred rounds down range with it.]
    Still, Bactine and and a couple of G&T’s will certainly make it all better. I “carried” for my job back in the day, and although they are impossible to feel an emotional attachment to, the Glock 19 or 23 are hard to beat. Of course when clad in regulation cassock, you could go for a full frame piece.

  31. Medjugorje Man 07 says:

    FXR2 is spot on in my humble opinion. I’ll add the best gun for an owner is one they can use proficiently, are comfortable with, and practice with. It’s no good if you can’t hit the target!

  32. Medjugorje Man 07 says:

    SIG SAUER is my choice.

  33. The gun got so hot you bent the barrel.

  34. Medjugorje Man 07 says: SIG SAUER is my choice.

    I have my eyes pealed.

  35. Mike Morrow says:

    A short-barrel (18-inch is shortest legal) 12-ga. pump shotgun is the best close-in weapon available. But do not load it with anything except non-magnum 00-buckshot shells. Recommendations for use of birdshot or small buckshot for defense should be heeded only if one believes a firearm is meant to be discharged at at an enemy without intent to deliver lethal force…complete idiocy!

    There is nothing more appropriate for a person wanting a handgun for protection, but not wanting to engage in frequent practice sessions, than a double-action revolver. I always recommend a five-shot .357 Magnum model (but loaded with .38 Special +P), with at least a 3-inch barrel. Something like the most excellent Ruger SP-101. A revolver has no safeties to deactivate, always has a round available for the first trigger pull without racking a slide first, always has another round available simply by pulling the trigger again should the first round fail to fire, has permanent lock-up of the barrel, frame, and sights (i.e. these don’t move around), has no magazine to loosen or malfunction, is subject in general self-defense service to very few malfunctions, and in a close-in situation that hasn’t yet reached the weapons discharge point the obvious display of live hollow-point bullets at the front of the cylinder can be very persuasive by itself.

    The XD-S is essentially a clone of the Glock design, as are most polymer-frame competitors to Glock. I’m partial to the Glock 31 Gen 4 (.357 SIG) with Glock night sights, and a non-Glock tactical light and laser. (Glock’s GTLs are way behind the current state of the art, very large, and expensive.) For concealed carry, it’s hard to beat a Glock 26 or 27.

    Slide bite is, IMHO, a consequence of improper weapon hold due to improper training. It long ago become a fad for some to hold high up on the handgun with both hands (where the hand may contact the slide in motion) because so many 1911-style sport shooters do so. 1911 shooters do that because the barrel axis is so high above the grip that a significant moment arm develops after discharge that increases muzzle flip. Having a hold high on the pistol minimizes that. The Glock design places the barrel axis only very little above the grip and thus creates much less moment arm flip. A high hold on a pistol like a Glock in always unnecessary after proper training. Still, many sport shooters believe they must treat a Glock and simular pistols like the old 1911, so they get slide-bit.

    Rapid magazine replacement exercise is pure nonsense for all law enforcement training, and that goes double for civilian self defense. Just what is the probability that a LE officer or self defense shooter is ever going to be engaged in rapid-fire discharge of his pistol’s high capacity magazine at an enemy, and then find the fight still hot and in need of immediate magazine replacement? Try almost exactly zero probability, except in the movies. In fact, the only use for such a technique is in sport shooting. It is abominable for such technique to be emphasized outside of sport shooting, where the handgun is being used as a toy, not a weapon.

  36. NoraLee9 says:

    This is the group I want to be chillin’ with when the zombies show up. Seriously though, you have inspired me to see what I have to do to get a carry permit in NJ. Rifle was the sport in which I excelled in high school.

  37. JonPatrick says:

    Wow. Sound advice on handguns, and slavishly accurate liturgical translations – all in one place :) This blog is really something!

  38. LarryW2LJ says:


    My son’s recently completed 7th Grade Science Fair experiment determined that Bactine is actually one of the best commercial disinfectants available. Just sayin’. Your comment prompted me to volunteer that.

  39. pray4truth says:

    Shooting gloves are highly recommended to increase therapeutic effects (as Theodore posted). They will keep your XD-S from biting you so you can shoot more accurately! Excellent fun, Father! Thanks for posting :-)

  40. I’m just recently getting reacquainted with the batting cage–love it.

    [Fun, isn’t it? Sometimes I name the balls.]

  41. inexcels says:

    All the many people with suggestions (I’m sure you’ll forgive me for the breakdown of individual attributions):

    I actually do in fact have a quite a bit of practice and have tried a variety of guns at shooting ranges. What I’ve found is I can shoot well with pretty much anything and don’t have strong preferences (except that I like rifles better than handguns but it’s not exactly practical to carry a rifle around with you!) so I was just hoping I’d get some suggestions and people’s personal experiences. I’ve gotten exactly that, and have a lot of firearms to look into now, so thanks to everyone who replied. (Realistically, what I’m likely to do is get the gun that’s cheapest as long as it stands up to a little bit of Internet research.)

  42. DavidR says:

    Dear inexcels;

    By all means, price matters. But do be aware that there may be more than one reason why a firearm is ‘cheap.’

    A good day to you, and good luck. Let us know what you pick up, just as a matter of curiosity.


  43. Ed the Roman says:

    “…I like rifles better than handguns…”

    To paraphrase a Ranger I was on a Scout camp with, when you know that there’s going to be a fight, the right pistol to bring is a long gun.

  44. inexcels says:

    For those who are interested, I’ve been researching all the many suggestions and right now I’m favoring the SCCY CPX-2 — not just because it’s cheap (though that’s a factor!) but because, from reviews I’ve looked up, it seems to have a lot of good features for concealed carry (e.g. great simplicity in the design, no manual safety) and people seem pretty impressed with it. The only consistent complaint I’ve encountered is some people find they can’t load the included magazines to maximum capacity, but I don’t regard that as a show-stopper — in an actual self-defense situation I’d have to think that 5-7 rounds should serve about as well as 10.

  45. The Masked Chicken says:


    Do you have an e-mail address I can contact you at for a discussion of some computer-related things? Alternately, you can send a message to OrthodoxChick at:[REMOVED by Fr. Z – ALL: please don’t put links to other people’s email on the blog. You can make them targets of spammers, among other things.] and she will forward the message.

    The Chicken

  46. JaneC says:

    You’re lucky that you can find any ammo to send down range. We’re really suffering here in Alaska–the shelves are empty, and we can’t mail-order without incurring significant haz-mat fees. Even getting reloading components is next to impossible.

  47. inexcels says:

    Masked Chicken: You can contact me at: avienlangley at gmail.

  48. JaneC says: Things will probably loosen up a bit as some of the hysteria dies down and manufacturers catch up. When it does loosen up, buy ammo.

  49. MichaelJ says:

    I seem to have failed to post my comment. For the short story, see: about the ammunition shortage.

  50. FXR2 says:

    Father Z,
    I have played with these Kimbers. ( ) I would not use them as a carry weapon, they are sweet, but on the expensive side.


  51. mburduck says:

    Way to go, Father! I will go to the range tomorrow and shoot a box of .45 in your honor. I will use my Glock 22. When I get back from a fishing trip in Canada I will shoot my Kimber. Yes, I’m a .45 sort of guy!!!


  52. Joshua08 says:

    I have a nice XD 40 subcompact…they are fun to shoot. Though 45 is more fun (also have an SR 45)

    Anyhow, serious question. I know that the Canon 138 of the 1917 code forbade clerics from bearing arms excepting when there was a just cause of fear (arma ne gestent, nisi quando iusta timendi causa subsit). While the corresponding code no longer mentions this, or other specifics for that matter, it does repeat the prohibition against things unbecoming his state and that bearing arms is listed in the old code as unbecoming can still be instructive, no? Now going to a shooting range or any moderate use of sport/game/play is one thing. But carrying a gun around for a cleric? While the irregularity of mildness may no longer be in the 1983 CIC, it again (like much of the ancient tradition that was cut out) still seems instructive.

    Clearly the 1917 code recognized that a priest could bear arms in given circumstance (just cause of fear), and IIRC, both under the broader pre-codification law and the 1917, self defense, strictly speaking, did not incur irregularity. So it strikes me, looking at the other examples in the law that it might be more about the appearance and comportment of the priest, then carry a weapon per se, and that concealed carry may, since it doesn’t make an external statement, no fall under the same censure looking at the principles behind the law? Father, do you think this is sound reasoning, or should a priest refrain from CCW?

  53. The Masked Chicken says:

    Fr. Z.,

    I understand about not putting an e-mail address in the combox. My apologies. I tend to forget about the vile spammers :(

    The Chicken

    [Just watching out for ya’ll.]

  54. Joshua08 says: Canon 138 of the 1917 code… Father, do you think this is sound reasoning, or should a priest refrain from CCW?

    Trying to import the ethos of the 1917 Code into the current Code is not without problems.

    On the one hand can. 19 tells us that recourse to “parallel places” is helpful when the law is unclear. The former Code is a parallel place. On the other hand, the Apostolic Constitution by which the 1983 Code was promulgated, Sacrae disciplinae legis, takes up the urging of Paul VI to develop a “novus habitus mentis“, a new manner of thinking, about the law.

    Is it inconsistent with the priesthood to act in accordance with the civil law and legally carry a concealed weapon for the purposes of self-defense?

    And by weapon, depending on the laws of the state in question, we don’t necessarily mean a firearm. This could include, for example, an electro-shock weapon like a Taser.

    Particular law of a diocese could judge the matter within that diocese. Can. 285 defers to particular law in determining the specifics of what would be unbecoming in that place. I doubt, however, that in the common estimation of the faithful it would be thought unbecoming, foreign, or unseemly for a priest to act in accordance with the civil law and legally carry a concealed weapon for the purposes of self-defense.

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