“Plink” is a whimsical word, a lower-case Roy Lichtenstein onomatopoeic sound balloon for a sharp metallic ping, whose gerund form is synonymous with recreational shooting. The ammo shortage of the past 14 months seems to be morphing into higher price tags which still mean reduced availability of cartridges for marksmanship of any kind, especially the informal variety, but one could make a case for “shooting for the sake of shooting” as a necessary self-care activity.
Plinking by the Textbook
The Wikipedia entry for plinking mentions “non-standard targets” - things that aren’t your usual USPSA/IDPA geometries and that more of-the-environment objects like bottles and cans, logs and even charcoal briquets if you like your targets pre-carbonized. Folks with real estate and hardware can set up joyously resonant steel targets in their multi-acreage tracts of land with nary a concern as to what is around, behind, or beyond the target.
Meanwhile, back at the proverbial ranch, I don’t have those sorts of resources, so I make do with what I can access for which I am nonetheless unrepentantly grateful.
No Range At the Home, but At Home on the Range
Lately I’d been spending almost all of my trigger time and ammo money trying to become proficient with the CZ Scorpion which has been an interesting discovery of kinesthetics and optics. At some recent point I decided to take a break and hit the range just to make holes in paper for hole’s sake.
The Glock G44 is my go-to for this kind of shoot-for-the-heck kind of outing as .22LR remains relatively inexpensive and readily available. Other than the obvious difference in mass, the G44 has all the ergonomic behaviors of the G19 Gen 5, so while one can let loose with the less expensive cartridges, you’re still soaking in the sights and trigger of the G19.
If Practice Makes Permanent, Then What Does Permanence Make?
And while 100 rounds can and will go very quickly through the magazines and into the backstop, it’s still 100 rounds. I’m going to grouse one more time about the chunky Glock plastic sights which make establishing sight picture at 15 yards feel like attempting delicate calligraphy with a leaking highlighter, but you can still do reasonably well by consistently applying correct marksmanship.
That’ll definitely pass the LGC Instructor range qualification, although they prefer that you use something bigger than a .22LR handgun.
After chugging through a box of CCI Mini-Mags, I switched over to a CZ P-10C 9mm and put a smaller quantity of bullets downrange. Yes, 9mm is definitely more expensive, but if you want real Luger recoil, you’ll need to shoot real Luger.
And after the bit of trigger time with the G44, the P-10C feels a reassuringly solid mass in one’s hand. And yes, it booms and kicks, but both are quite welcome. And as 9mm makes obviously larger holes than a .22, you can kinda reuse the same target and somewhat keep track of things.
CZ Peasy Breezy Beautiful
Shoot on a Sunday, clean on a Monday! The cleaning of firearms can, and in my opinion, should be a ritual with the proper safeguards in place (e.g., unload and lock away the ammo first and so on). I look at it as less of a chore and more of a way to focus on the major components of the gun and to give those bits a good cleaning before the reassembly and safe storage.
I Plink Therefore I Am
I realize that which constitutes “casual shooting” for me may be a lot more formal and involved than what a whole lot of other folks do for plinking. I think it’s largely constrained by how I can’t get around Jeff Cooper’s Fourth Rule (i.e., be aware of what’s around, behind, and beyond your target) in my immediate environs. I guess there’s the ammo constraint as well, but ultimately one does what one is able to do.
Personally I find all the preparation and packing, travel to and checking in, the setup and loading, the actual shooting, and so on, to be extremely “centering.” I don’t have a better word for it. It’s kinda like a meditation, but there’s the undercurrent hum of adrenaline and heightened awareness. It’s a way of tuning into a different frequency of awareness. I’m simply grateful to be able to have those centering moments, especially in these post-normal times.