My experience with HS pistols came about in a totally roundabout way. I had to attend a product launch last week at Stronghand Shooting Range where the organizer decided to put a little zing into their event with a mini-media shooting competition at the end. Since I’m a self-confessed gun nut and religious airsofter, I couldn’t pass up the chance to get some trigger time at the range. That’s where I got acquainted with the HS series of pistols and with Joey “Storm” Rivero, the Chief Range Officer for Stronghand shooting range. Me and Joey got to talking about the HS line of pistols (which Stronghand is a distributor of), and he graciously offered me the opportunity to come back to Stronghand to get some quality time with the pistols.
That’s how Ren Alcantara, our Associate Editor, himself a fellow gun nut and I found ourselves standing in the cavernous shooting bays of Stronghand Shooting Range in E. Rodriguez, Cubao earlier today. In front of us were four pistols in the HS line: the full sized HS Tactical chambered in 9mm, the relatively shorter HS Service chambered in 9mm and .45 and the small but deadly HS Subcompact chambered in 9mm. Clearly, today was a polymer kind of day.
Before we got to shooting, Joey spoke about the main advantages of the HS line of pistols. One of the main advantages of pistols like the HS is safety – HS pistols are all striker fired, which means that there is a physical block between the firing pin and chambered round called the firing pin block which virtually eliminates the possibility of an accidental discharge of the weapon if it’s accidentally dropped. Joey says that even if you use the HS pistols as a hammer, he’s confident that they will not fire, something that we really didn’t challenge – pistols are not carpentry implements, after all.
Aside from that particular safety feature, HS pistols also use a grip safety quite similar to 1911 series of pistols. Like 1911s, these pistols won’t fire if you’re not holding the pistol correctly, which adds another element of safety. The HS-45 that we shot had an additional ambidextrous side safety. Finally, HS pistols also use a trigger safety that’s similar to other polymer firearms.
HS pistols also use a couple of other neat features – chief of which is the striker indicator on the back of the slide. The striker indicator tells shooters if the pistol is cocked and ready to fire, which saves you from recocking the gun if you’re not sure it’s ready or not.
Another feature that we liked is the loaded chamber indicator – basically, it’s a small indicator near the ejection port that tells you if there’s a round chambered or not, which saves shooters the effort of performing a a brass check. This particular feature is especially useful during low-light situations. All of these features are present in all of the pistols in the HS line.
While I consider myself a beginner, I’ve shot a fairly wide array of pistols before. My personal preference when it comes to pistols is the venerable 1911, though I’ve also shot a Glock 17, Browning Hi-Power, Beretta and a Taurus. From my limited experience with these types of pistols, I’ve found that the HS-9 and the HS-45 are all pretty soft shooting pistols. This is because of the recoil buster – basically their fancy name for their recoil spring. The hi-tang grip and the recoil buster makes shooting the HS a pretty pleasurable experience. The recoil buster even tamed the characteristically heavy flip of the .45 round, which made the HS-45 manageable for a beginner like me.
After about 2 magazines, I managed to get a handle on the HS-9 Tactical and my groups improved. I was surprised that I was shooting pretty tight groups, something that I’ve only managed to do after spending a lot of time with a particular firearm. Joey credits the good groups to the match grade barrel that’s present in every HS pistol, which he says allows shooters to shoot accurately up to 50 meters.
I also noticed that the trigger is pretty good for a striker fired gun, and didn’t have excessive trigger creep which is always associated with these types of guns.
Of course, those tight groups can also be credited to Joey’s instruction and the excellent facilities present at Stronghand Shooting Range. I’ve been to a lot of ranges scattered around the metro before, and I can say without a doubt that the facilities in Stronghand are some of the best in the country. Stronghand is probably the only non-toxic indoor range in the country today, and after about 250 rounds of ammo sent downrange our clothes didn’t have that gunpowder stink that one would normally associate with indoor ranges.
During my time with the all the HS variants mentioned above, I encountered about 4 instances when the round failed to fire. The hammer dropped and the firing pin hit the primer cleanly, but unfortunately the ammo failed to go bang. Joey attributed this failure to the type of propellants used in the rounds in Stronghand – the powder they used in the range is non-toxic, which has the unfortunate side-effect of sometimes not being volatile enough to be ignited by the primer.
When I went into Stronghand during the shoot, I was a staunch 1911 man. That view changed quite a bit after spending quality time with the HS pistols. They are completely safe, easy to use and are pretty damn accurate, all of which are excellent characteristics to have in a pistol. If you’re interested in getting one, you can expect to shell out around Php 40,000 to Php 45,000.
Special thanks to Joey “Storm” Rivero and the rest of the crew at Stronghand Shooting range for making this shoot possible. If you’re interested in visiting them, you can head to their website at http://www.stronghandinc.com.