Getting a license is fairly straight-forward in my country. The exams are also easy nowadays, so long as you read up on the process, do some dry or live fire practice, and aren’t completely blind, nor an idiot. The police officers taking care of the matters are amongst the friendliest.
To me, gun ownership is about ego, being attracted to their looks, satisfaction of my curiosity, protection from animals, and the very last place is occupied by SHTF scenarios. Self defence against other humans is almost guaranteed to put you under arrest or worse, and the streets are generally safe around here.
My first pistol, chosen for my familiarity with the CZ 75 B that is used at firarms pass exams, for its looks, and out of some sense of national pride. Initially I had a great deal of trouble pushing out the locking pin when field stripping it, though I’ve eventually figured out how to do it rather effortlessly using a pencil, or a lighter. Lesson learnt: brand new guns can be very difficult to disassemble. I also have issues with the strong recoil spring.
Out of curiosity, as well as to make use of the VAT exemption that lasted until July 2021, I bought a Chinese TLR-8 knock-off for the P-01. My review went as follows:
The laser is ridiculously hard to adjust, X and Y are somehow linked. I stopped being able to put it high while not having it aim all the way to the left but somehow managed to have it kind of accurate at a few metres distance. Not particularly water-tight. Fits P-01 sort of nicely when you remove the adapter, even though that’s a compact pistol.
I can’t imagine any real world situation where this would be useful to a civilian, except to scare off burglars. It sucks for concealed carry because it’s large, you lose the nice space for your index finger in front of the trigger guard, and finally the laser sits way too low, hence it’s inaccurate by design, and mostly a curiosity.
I haven’t had much success with an UpLULA knock-off--it’s tricky to use, isn’t a very good fit, and damages the curved plastic bottom of CZ 75 P-01 double-stack magazines (I’ve managed to sandpaper it away). I’ve then tried several 3D printed designs I could find on the Internet, mostly resembling the Glock speed loader, and all of them have failed me as well.
The ETS loader seems like it might employ the right kind of mechanism, it’s just a bit too large.
I might want to try designing my own model, which is guaranteed to cost me a huge amount of time, and it’s only my friend that bitches about hand loading, anyway.
Originally I wanted the 14" barrel version, but what I found on the local market eventually instead was a 16.5" version. Which, as I’ve learnt, is extremely unwieldy. But it looks cool!
When I bought the rifle, I was offered a 4M sling to go with it. Only later did I figure out how utterly shitty it is. First, the metal spring hooks: they’re hard to put on or off, and they’ll happily leave marks on their mounts (I tried to fix this with heat shrink tubes, but they add a rather thick layer and don’t hold well anyway). Following that, look at all the buckles and other random shit in there. It’s so fucking long and rigid that it’s all but impossible to go quickly from carrying the rifle to aiming, as you need to get that fucking thing out of your face.
So I went shopping for something that doesn’t suck. The various circular holes turned out to be so-called QD sockets (the front one is different, though). And the cheap MS4 knock-off I got from China was everything I needed.
It only has two issues: the clasp to convert it to a 1-point sling is pretty light gray, and the metal QD swivel will, again, scrape off a circle around the front hole. The latter I’ve managed to fix by making an appropriate ring out of a random piece of plastic packaging (most likely PET, which can theoretically be 3D printed in a thin layer), and pushing it over the pin.
For the other side, I’ve tried to use polyurethane varnish, though that inconveniently glued the little balls to their housing, and it isn’t all that resilient anyway.
Here, it’s relatively easy to find a good one. My favourite model just had issues with printing the curved ram part in PETG, as thin floating layers like to warp upwards, so I just reused a blocky one from a model that didn’t load properly. The 1.1 version is better, as the locking tab has shown itself difficult to clean up after printing, and completely unnecessary.
I’ve seen an interesting failure mode here: several rounds loading up vertically on each other in a double-stacked magazine. An unusual case of taking something apart, putting it back together, and having leftover pieces.
At first I bought a pair of 3M Combat Arms earplugs, however they are fairly uncomfortable, and tend to wiggle out of my ears when I dare to talk, hence they haven’t proven themselves useful at all. It might have something to do with the size and shape of the plug itself, like I have experienced with my Samsung in-ear headphones, where switching to a larger size fixed everything. But these come in exactly the size you choose, and if they happen to not fit, you’re just shit out of luck. Then there’s the general downside of all earplugs: they’re racist. While Asians are likely to have dry earwax, I need to clean plugs as well as my ears, both before and after wearing.
The extra features are meh: the attenuation switch is fiddly, and the lanyard transfers rubbing noise straight into your ears.
And so I’ve rejected the idea of earplugs for shooting, and got myself the most basic of 3M Peltor earmuffs.