LBP’s and LPR’s. Long Barrelled Pistols and Long Barrelled Revolvers.
Let’s start with my experience of the LBP
These are the UK legal options of shooting pistols available to us as FAC holders.
Basically it’s a minimum 12″ barrel, plus a ‘bar/brace’ on the grip to make it the legal overall length of 24″.
The LBP/LBR scene seems a little like marmite… they are loved or hated.
Generally hated by many pre-ban shooters, who wistfully recall the heady days of ‘proper pistols. However, the opinion in the overall shooting fraternity seems to be shifting as more post pistol ban shooters embrace them, particularly with the growing interest in ‘Practical’ disciplines.
I have to admit – I have owned my LBP for a few of years, and it makes me smile more each time I shoot it, but compared to a rifle, it is totally unforgiving… if you don’t ‘practise your skills’ with a pistol you go backwards quick – I have definitely got the bug.
I and another Red Flag member came across them first in the club one evening whilst shooting a ‘Timed and Precision 1 Comp, (the old PP1) with Mini Rifle.
Guy on the line next to me with a 1911, sporting a fake can, and a weird bar poking out the back.
‘That’s just the jobbie for me’ I thought, and started up a conversation.
I quickly found out that the specific legislation prohibits anyone without LBP/LBR on their FAC actually handling one… which is a bit of a mystery really, as it prohibits you from ‘trying it out’ before committing.
However, I looked into it more, the price was not prohibitive, and it was something ‘new and shiny’ – so, obviously in goes the variation, 6-8 weeks later, LBP on the licence.
After lots of research both of us marched into see Dave at West Coast Sports, and marched out with a GSG 1911 and a fist full of mags each.
For me this seemed the best ‘bang for the buck’.
On the range
First things first – safety.
With a rifle it’s length, bulk, basic configuration and the position in the shoulder all aid to good natural safety.
The gun is ‘naturally’ pointing ‘downrange’ so reloading, clearing stoppages etc are performed almost automatically within this safe natural orientation.
Pistol – ‘hell’s bells’ – where has the stock gone?
Seriously it is a safety discipline you have to learn, and reinforce heavily, as the orientation is ‘all in the wrist’.
Follow simple, easy protocols, whilst ‘positively’ pointing downrange and you are fine, but you must remain vigilant. I learnt some really good pistol safety drills from some of my local club pre-ban pistol guys and stole their ideas. This was particularly relevant when shooting ‘downrange’, or on multi-gun courses with movement.
If you haven’t guessed, I myself am a post pistol ban shooter, so I had no reference point.
What I did know, is that on a good day I’m a pretty decent rifle shooter, and this is just another gun right? How different can it really be??
OK – pistol and rifle is as similar as chalk and trifle
First thing, hitting perfect 300’s at 20 yards with a .22 pistol with iron sights – although I am sure is perfectly doable by you Super Jedi’s out there… not by me!
Initial frustrations aside, learning a whole new range of skills is the exciting part.
Let’s face it, if you can shoot a rimfire rifle, you can shoot an underlever, or a bolt action. But to be able to learn a totally new and different discipline with a pistol has been, for me, an exciting and rewarding experience.
Nearly all members of Team Red Flag have added a Long Barrel Pistol to their collection, which we use predominately for practical competition both ‘interteam’ and via UKPSA postal leagues.
This is a great opportunity to stretch your skills. Not only do you need to become a consistent and competent pistol shooter, but also there are elements of movement, holster drawing and reloads to contend with.
It’s safe, exciting, full of pressure and a real ‘brain game’
I would warn you though, once the pistol bug has got you, it’s contagious. Following the LBP’s two of us Red Flaggers have also now added Long Barrel Revolvers to our collections.
How can I sum up LBR’s?
.357 or .44, so bigger holes and bigger bangs, single and double action grins and smiles – what more do you need to know?