Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Range Outing: The Humidity Edition

I hit the range with my son after work on Tuesday for a quick shooting session. It had been raining most of the day, but when it cleared up mid-afternoon I messaged my son to see if he wanted to try to hit the range after work. Not surprisingly he answered in the affirmative.

As we unpacked the gear at the range and started loading magazines we noticed that the surfaces of the guns, mags, and ammo all felt damp. The transition from the cool car to the humid air was producing a lot of condensation. Checking the local conditions on my phone I saw the humidity was up at 87%, with a dew point of 75°. The temperature hovering around 80°, so it wasn't surprising that things felt wet.

Humidity: You can't see it but it's there

On this trip we set up at the seven yard line so I could do more strong and weak hand only shooting. I also wanted to practice sighting in on the head shots. I was extremely pleased with my initial runs at all of these tests of skill. As time went on, I noticed my performance degrading a bit significantly. The constant fogging of my shooting glasses, combined with the droplets of sweat on the lenses no doubt contributing.

I also brought along the S&W Shield, which I hadn't shot in a while. It was fun to put a few rounds through it as well. After a while we were both frustrated with the humidity, and hungry, so we decided to pick up brass and head home.

At one point in time I had a fog treatment cloth in my range bag; it seems I need to replace that important item. Despite the exceedingly humid atmosphere, it was fun way to wind down after work.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse

The new BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse location in Fredericksburg opened a few weeks ago and we finally made a visit this weekend. We planned for an early dinner on Saturday, but so did a lot of other people it seems. We waited about 50 minutes after arriving to get a table. While we waited outside, where the weather was fortunately pleasant, the BJ's staff frequently distributed free samples of their deep dish pizza to the waiting diners. Once we were seated, service was fast and very attentive

The beer menu lists over 50 options. There a wide variety of craft beers, including about 18 BJ's house beers. The beers are not brewed on site, rather they are brought in from one of their six breweries at other locations. I opted to start out with BJ's Hopstorm IPA and Colleen selected BJ's Harvest Hefeweizen.

Initial beer selections made, we dove into the food extensive food menu. Not having been to a BJ's prior to this, I was surprised by the variety of food offered. Burgers, steaks, sandwiches, pasta, soups, salads, the list goes on. The first couple of times our waitress checked on us, we had to wave her off because we were taking a long time to decide. Finally we had our selections made; Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta for Colleen, Baked Ziti for our son, while I went for a lighter fare of a Seared Ahi Salad.

I found the IPA to be enjoyable. While it was nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary, it was quite flavorable. Colleen's Hefeweizen was very well done I thought. We ordered a second round of BJ's beers to enjoy with our meals; Jeremiah Red Irish Are for me and Midsummer's Ale Saison for Colleen. My Red Ale was rich and malty. It's also one of their more popular selections according to our waitress.

The food was delivered in a timely manner and we were all pleased with our selections. My salad entree was fresh and tasty. After signing up for BJ's rewards program I received an email with a coupon for a free small "pizookie" which we opted to redeem. The salted caramel pizookie was a great cap to a fun meal.

The waitstaff at BJ's carry iPad-like devices to send your orders directly to the kitchen or bar. Other servers often bring out the ordered items, which leaves the waitstaff free to tend tables. I found it quite efficient and we never lost sight of our waitress who concentrated on tending to her customers rather than running to the kitchen.

We enjoyed our meal, and found the food and beer worthy of a return visit. Interestingly, as we were leaving, we noted there was now no wait to get in. Perhaps going for a later dinner rather than earlier would be wiser. We'll be back in the near future to try out more of the menu offerings. And the beer.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Martyrs of Otranto

August 14 is the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Otranto. These faithful Christians were victims of muslim brutality and conquest in the Italian city of Otranto in 1480. Two days prior, on August 11, the town, which had been under siege for two weeks, was finally overrun by the Ottoman invaders. Subsequently, all men in the town over the age of 50 were slaughtered, and women and children under 15 were sent away into slavery. The leader of the invaders, Pasha Ament ordered over 800 surviving Christian men brought before him and commanded them to convert to islam or face death. The faithful refused to cave in to his barbarous demands.

One of the men came forth and spoke in a manner that we should all pray we could emulate,
My brothers, until today we have fought in defense of our country, to save our lives, and for our lords; now it is time that we fight to save our souls for our Lord, so that having died on the cross for us, it is good that we should die for him, standing firm and constant in the faith, and with this earthly death we shall win eternal life and the glory of martyrs.
Angered that they would not renounce their faith, Pasha Ament ordered all the men killed. On August 14, 1480, the prisoners were brought to a nearby hill and beheaded, while their families and friends were mercessly forced to watch. According to tradition, the body of the first victim, Antonio Primaldo, refused to fall over until the entire group had been executed. The destruction of the town complete, and its population decimated, the moslem invaders continued their march toward Rome.

A year later, in October 1481, the bodies of the martyrs were found to be uncorrupted and moved to the Otranto cathedral. On December 14, 1771, Pope Clement XIV beatified these brave men. On May 12, 2013 their cause for Sainthood was completed when Pope Francis declared the Martyrs of Otranto to be among the Saints in Heaven.

Martyrs of Otranto, Ora pro nobis!

Relics of the Otranto Martyrs

The islamic war on Christianity, and civilized people as a whole, continues to this day. The scimitar remains the conversion tool of choice for the barbaric cult. (That whole "religion of peace" meme notwithstanding.)

Today we remember these brave men and pray we remain as strong in our own wars against the minions of Satan.

Also see "How the 800 Martyrs of Otranto Saved Rome" for more on the martyrs and their place in the history of Christendom.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

One Handed Shooting Practice

I've been especially busy the past few days and have barely had time to even sit and read my favorite blogs, much less write on my own, but Tuesday evening I managed to get over to the range for a quick visit. As I promised myself, I focused on strong hand and weak hand shooting.

All the shooting was done from about 7 yards; a distance chosen in part so I could review my hits without walking to the target to check each string. I shot 75 rounds strong hand only, making adjustments in my grip and the gun cant as I went. For me, keeping the gun as vertical as possible seems to give the best results.

I also went through a few magazines shooting weak hand only. With concentration, I was able to pull many of the shots away from the high right pattern that was prevalent at the start.

Final Groups WHO and SHO

Interspersing some two handed shooting offered small breaks from the more strenuous single hand shooting. It also shows why it's more fun to practice those easier shots.

Two Hands!

All in all it was a good practice session, though it was all done with slow fire, under no match pressure. I do hope to put in more time doing the same in the coming days —assuming life's demands allow for the diversion.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sanner's Lake IDPA Match

On Saturday, a couple of friends and I ventured across the Potomac River to shoot the monthly IDPA match at Sanner's Lake Sportsman's Club. The club puts on a quality match with six interesting and challenging stages.

The first stage our squad shot was a standards stage involving both strong hand and weak hand shooting. It was not the sort of stage I wanted to warm up with! The stage started with six rounds in the gun, held in our weak hand. After two shots on each of three partial targets, we reloaded and reengaged the targets, strong hand only or freestyle, and then again with the remaining hand option. I did not do well, racking up a horrific, and honestly unexpected, 20 points down. At least it gave me the chance to put my "get over it" mantra into play.

The next stage had us pulling a rope that activated a swinging non-threat target. After starting the swinger we moved to engage an array of three targets from cover, before advancing to a port in a wall. Through this port there were four targets which had the swinging non-threat in front of them. I faired better here, with 4 points down.

Feeling a bit more confident, I was ready to take on the next challenge. This stage was little more complex. We engaged the first two targets from the right side of wall of barrels, followed by a single distant target from the left side. Moving to an opening between walls, a single target was hiding behind another barrel stack. A slight shift in position opened up three more targets. Finally we crossed through the opening, to find one more target hiding beyond another barrel. It was a fun stage, that I finished -0. I may have found my groove....

But, what's this? Another one-handed shooting stage? This time we were seated with our gun and the downloaded mags on the table in front of us. The stage consisted of two strings of six shots on three targets; one shot weak hand only, the other strong hand only. This time I was 10 points down. Ouch.

The next stage was fairly straightforward, with a small challenge to start. The first target was directly down range, but was fronted by a piece of steel that had a circle the size of the -0 zone cut out. Essentially anything other than center hit was going to be a miss. As a good thing, the ping of steel would tell the shooter he needed to try again. There were five more targets arranged on either side of the bay, hidden by barrels that were to be engaged while advancing down the bay. All targets required three hits each. 

Oddly enough I felt confident going into the stage. And indeed, I hit my first three shots dead on, hearing no steel hits and needing no make ups. All other shots were good as well, and I racked up another -0 stage. 

The last stage included lots of movement — by the shooter and the targets. On either side of the bay there was a matching set up consisting of an open target, a steel popper, and a hidden swinger. Each popper activated the swinger on the opposite side. We started facing up range, our backs to a wall. At the start we moved to one side of the wall, engaged a paper target and the steel popper, then moved to the opposite side. There we engaged the stationary paper, the other popper and the now appearing swinging target. We then moved back to the other side to shoot the second swinger. Again, all paper targets required three hits each. My eight points down were earned mainly on the moving targets.

Despite some hot and cold performance on my part, the end results were not too disappointing. I finished 12th of 58 shooters overall, and 3rd of 24 in SSP. The match was very well run and we finished shooting before noon. The road trip with friends was most enjoyable which added to the fun of the day. I'm always impressed with the events put on by the folks at the Maryland club. It makes the trouble of traveling into the (not so) "Free State" a bit more bearable.

And in the days ahead, some serious work on strong hand and weak hand shooting is in my plans...

A few more pics from the match here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mind Prep For Shooting

Picking some goals for tomorrow's IDPA match from great teachers...
"Don't worry about how fast you shoot, worry about how good you shoot."
-- Clint Smith, Thunder Ranch
"Therefore, above all else, calm and compose your mind. Gently and quietly pursue your aim."
 -- Saint Francis de Sales

Okay, St. Francis likely had something different in mind. But it works.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Back to the Range

When my son and I visited the range this week, one of my plans was to try out some different grip modules for the guns. I had acquired the small sized grip for the full size P320. The smaller grip circumference is closer to that of the P226 I've been shooting for years. At the end of the trial, I was still undecided which I liked better, the small or the stock medium grip. More shooting will be required.

I had also recently picked up a Subcompact P320 grip module to put on the Compact slide. Shooting the Compact gun with the Subcompact grip module was not a problem at all. My pinkie finger floats, but the gun still handles fine. It will make a good option for easier concealment when the situation calls for it.

Switching the grip modules around is simple and quick. The most confusing part was keeping the magazines straight among the guns, as all the grip modules require mags of different capacities. It's like Tinker Toys for adults.

We shot for just a short time, only using up about a hundred rounds each. Since the range hours require us to head out right after work, we were both very hungry and anxious to get home for dinner. Still it was a fun time as usual.

I recently had a friend tell me he was avoiding picking up a SIG P320 because he knew he'd want more than one due to the modularity. I can totally understand that.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

This Week's Indoor Range Visit

I've been fortunate of late to be able to get out to shoot frequently. Schedules change, so I'm taking advantage while I can. This week's trip to the indoor range turned was one of the more crowded times I've seen recently. In actuality, there weren't that many shooters there, but we were all assigned to one end of the range. I did see a ladder set up at the other end, so perhaps there were maintenance issues that forced that.

It's indeed rare that I find myself shooting while there multiple guns going off nearby, outside of a training class. At this older indoor range, with no sound dampening, the gun fire is an especially distracting experience. The guy next to me was firing off strings of around 15 or more rounds at a time. I quickly took to doing my shooting while he was reloading.

I mostly worked on slow shots focusing on the sights, my trigger finger, and trying minute grip changes. There's still some slight leftward drift I need to overcome, which seems to be a fairly recent, and frustrating, development in my shooting. After 150 rounds of slow fire I was ready to head back to the office, reinvigorated to face the rest of the day.

I still hope to be able to get in an outdoor range session later in the week to supplement my daily dry fire. All the practice will at the very least make the match days more enjoyable, even if I'm not winning any prizes.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Cleaning

I spent the morning standing at the workbench cleaning the guns we shot the past few weeks. There are worse ways to spend a rainy Saturday morning I suppose. (There are better ways too, like shooting them.) I had planned to clean just one. Then I grabbed another. Then another... Before you know it I was wrist deep in dirty cleaning patches and the aroma of solvent filled the air. It's quite satisfying actually.

Now they are clean, which only means they need to be made dirty again. The smell of Hoppe's #9 will linger on my hands all day. That's okay, it has been rated as one of the top 15 manly smells.

Really, who needs one of these when you have the real thing?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Five O'Clock Friday: ATF At Work

Fortunately that doesn't look like the lake where my guns fell overboard.

H/T Miguel at Gun Free Zone.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Another Range Outing

My son and I got out for another fun visit to the range this week. As I was gathering the gear, I was undecided which gun I wanted to shoot this trip. To solve that dilemma, I simply brought several! And we shot them all.

I started out shooting the S&W Shield, which I hadn't shot in a while. I used the short seven round magazines — no pinky extension — since that fits the IDPA BUG requirements. There are several opportunities to shoot BUG matches in the coming months, and I wanted to get in a bit of a "refresher." Except for shooting a tad high due to the different (from the SIG) sight picture, that went well.

Both of us spent the rest of our time switching around between the three SIG Sauer pistols. It took me a few shots to get used to the DA/SA trigger of the P226 after shooting the striker fired P320s so much lately.

It was quite an enjoyable hour. Even the temperature and humidity were at a very pleasant level, Mother Nature apparently having forgotten it's July. I am sure she'll self correct soon enough!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bonus Range Time

It's like putting on a pair of pants and finding money I didn't realize I had! While at the indoor range this week I discovered I had not unloaded all the magazines from the weekend's match. So instead of the planned 150, I got to shoot an extra 30 rounds! It really is the little things that make life fun.

This trip I started out running the Julie Golob 50 drill. After that, the remaining 100 130 rounds were devoted to working on sight alignment and trigger control on some splatter targets at 7 yards. I have mixed feelings regarding the definition of success with those drills. On one hand, I kept all the shots in the 5" circle. On the other hand, the holes were generally in the lower left quadrant of said 5" circle.

Near the end of my time I realized I was sweating almost as much as I would be if I was at the outside range as there is no air conditioning at the indoor facility. Perhaps I should stick with the outdoor range. Therein lies a conflict — shooting on the move is forbidden at either venue. However, indoors I am permitted to fire strings of more than 2 rounds. On the other hand, outdoors I can hang two targets and shoot both, but I'm limited to one round on each per string of fire. But I can draw from the holster.

Sigh, there's got to be a better way...

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cavalier IDPA Match

"It's not the heat, it's the humidity."

Actually, it's the heat too. July's IDPA match at Cavalier featured both heat and humidity, in addition to four really fun stages. A brief rain shower right when shooting started only added to the oppressive typical Virginia summer weather. Fortunately the rain was brief, and we never had to shoot at bagged targets.

Stage 1 featured an old friend I call "Earl." This time our hapless victim was on a table where he was receiving CPR. There were three targets to be engaged strong hand only, all while our weak hand remained on Earl's chest. For the second string of the stage, we moved forward to face an array of four reduced area targets which were also fronted by two non-threats. A fifth threat target was placed to the right. All five targets required two body and one head shot each.

Moving to the second stage we found a complex set up of walls, barrels, a table, falling steel, and six paper targets. For the unusual start position we placed one magazine on each of three barrels and our unloaded gun on the table. The start position was in yet another place on the stage. At the start we ran to the barrels, grabbing any magazines we wished, and continued on to retrieve and load our gun. After engaging three targets, we retreated back to the start position to engage the two steel targets. From there we crossed the stage, grabbing ammo as needed, and maneuvered through a turning hallway to shoot the remaining three targets. I thought this was an extremely fun stage, offering plenty of options for the shooter. It was also my best stage of the match, with just one point down.

Stage 3 started with our hands on a chainsaw. There were three targets to be engaged while backing up. Finishing those targets we moved to the next position of cover to shoot two steel plates. The plates were deviously placed in front of a non-threat target. Moving to the final shooting position, we found three more paper targets waiting. 

This turned out to be a disappointing stage for me. I've dealt with quite successfully with steel plates in front of non-threats in the past, and these plates were close in. Yet, I struggled to hit them. I found myself closing my weak eye, both from the sting of sweat, and out of frustration. Shooting with one eye closed actually seems to degrade my accuracy. It's an old habit, left from the Rx shooting glasses days, that I've worked to break but which sneaks in from time to time. 

The final stage once again offered us the, um, opportunity to run. Our magazines and gun were placed on each of four barrels. We started the stage on the opposite side of the course, holding a swinging non-threat in the down position. At the start we released the swinger, and ran to retrieve gun and ammo. The shooter then had a myriad of choices on how to complete the stage. There was a wall at the barrels that hid four threat targets, at most three of which could be engaged from one end of the wall. Moving to the other end of the wall allowed the remaining target(s) to be hit. Also from the center of the stage, a target behind the still swinging non-threat was visible. To finish, a steel popper and another paper target were engaged from the last shooting position. Due to the overlap of cover positions, there was an interesting array of crossing fault lines in the center of the stage. Given the options available, it was important to have a plan, and stick with it.

The stages at this month's match were probably some of the most complex I've shot, at least at local monthly matches. They were also simply put, a whole lot of fun. It certainly disproves some critics who claim there are no options when shooting IDPA. Despite the fun, I did not finish well on this day. Between a lack of speed and some inaccurate shooting, I ended up 20th of 31Overall and 12th of 17 in SSP. However, as I've noted, it was a whole lot of fun! Now it's back to the practice range to prepare for the next match adventure that awaits.

More pics from the match here.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Five O'Clock Friday: Marriage Humor

Tom finally decided to tie the knot with his longtime girlfriend. 
One evening, after the honeymoon, he was welding some stuff in the garage just for fun. 
His new wife was standing there at the bench watching him.

After a long period of silence she finally spoke, "Honey, I've just been thinking, now that we are married maybe it's time you quit spending all your time out here in the shop. You probably should just consider selling all your welders along with your gun collection and that stupid vintage Harley."

Tom got a horrified look on his face.

"She said, "Darling, what's wrong?"

He replied, "There for a minute you were starting to sound like my ex-wife."


Tom replied: "I wasn't."

I can laugh because I am blessed that Colleen not only supports, but very much encourages my hobbies.

H/T to Irons in the Fire for the humor.

He Just "Went Bananas"

I've often said if you can't be trusted with a gun, you probably can't be trusted on the street without supervision. Here's an example of why. Jorge Jove of Hialeah, Florida decided he didn't like the AT&T trucks parked on the public street. His reaction was a bit over the top.

Jove was arrested and later let out on bond. If you ask me his reaction indicates more than a little instability. I'm all for "innocent until proven guilty" but perhaps some time should be taken to make sure he won't snap again. What if the victims had been kids he didn't want riding bicycles on the street when he "went bananas"? Stupid people doing stupid things wth guns just pisses me off. The snowflakes and anti-gunners waste no time in lumping all gun owners with this guy.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Negligent Discharges

In the approximately nine years I've been playing gun games, I've seen a few DQ's for safety reasons. (The percentage of DQs to shooters is actually quite minuscule.) These are typically 180° violations, or negligent discharges when reloading or moving. In the interest of full disclosure, my own DQ was for a dropped gun. There's a reason for the strict safety rules in USPSA and IDPA and a reason all gun handling happens under the watchful eye of a safety officer. Thanks to those strict rules, the sports have an excellent safety record. Even experienced competitors make mistakes, and when it happens, it's only right that they are done for the day. It hurts, but if your brain isn't fully engaged, it could hurt even more more.

What brings this to mind? Recently, for the second time in about two years I witnessed a negligent discharge, up close. Neither was during a sanctioned match. The first time was when I arrived at the range as an acquaintance was leaving. He knew I was fan of SIG Sauer guns, and wanted to show me a SIG he had with him. We stood at the back of his pickup truck, he uncased the gun and went through his clearing routine; rack the slide, then drop the mag and pull the trigger. The round went right into the bed of his truck. Fortunately, I was very aware of his muzzle and had positioned myself to his side. This man is a very experienced shooter and retired federal law enforcement. 

The most recent occurrence was at another shooting club. I was standing at my car going through the gear I was going to need for shooting that day. Suddenly I heard what sounded like a gun shot, though the sound was somewhat muted. There was a bit of commotion two vehicles over, where I saw two men looking through the cab of their truck. I later heard bits of a conversation regarding "lowering the hammer on a 1911." 

Both of these events occurred at a gun club, but away from the firing line. Both events occurred at the gun owner's vehicle. Both shooters were showing the gun to someone or (apparently) otherwise distracted by another person. I've often remarked that one of the reasons I dislike "gun free zones" and gun shows is that people are fiddling with guns in their cars. There are times when I need to remove a firearm from my belt while in a vehicle. I strive to be attentive and undistracted when I find myself doing that.

Firearms are tools. In fact, they are relatively simple tools. And those four rules work pretty well. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Some Range Time

Despite being able to shoot in matches the past couple weeks, the foibles of life have prevented any actual range trips for practice. Finally after work Tuesday, my son and I took advantage of the moderate (i.e., below 95°) weather to hit the range before dinner. The shaded pistol bay was pleasant enough, even though we could hear thunder far off in the distance.

We did all of our shooting this trip from the 10 yard line. I wanted to focus on tighter shots, so much of my time was spent on head shots. I was mostly pleased with the results. A lot of those shots were taken in controlled pairs at the top of the IDPA target, or in body/head combinations.

I also expended a lot of my ammo on strong hand and weak hand only shooting. I have to say I impressed even myself with the strong hand only portion of that. 80% or more of those shots were in the -0 zone, and the rest barely out. However I was less satisfied with the weak hand shooting. About half of the hits were high right of the -0, and even a few crept into the -3 shoulder zone. I will definitely be putting in more time on that skill.

Since more than two shots in a string, as well as any movement, is now banned at the range, these trigger control focused drills help make the best use of my time, and ammo supply. It's also the area where I think I need the most work. On future trips I hope to extend the one hand shooting out to 15 yards. If I can get good hits at 15 yards, the common 7 and 10 yard shots should come easy. (Wistfully stated.)

It was good time spent with my son. We are fortunate that our work schedules pretty much coincide, so we are able to get to the range together fairy frequently. We'll enjoy that until he heads back to school later this summer.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

VCDL Petition For National Reciprocity

Today's alert from VCDL has an important action item for gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters nationwide.
I just created a White House petition asking the President to urge Congress to pass H.R. 38 as soon as possible and get the bill on his desk!


The petition requires 100,000 signature BY AUGUST 17TH to be considered by the President. Please sign and forward to any and all gun groups you know - from gun clubs, gun organizations, chat groups, friends, family, coworkers, and fellow church members!

We can do this, but we need all the help we can get from gun owners across the nation.

Here is the link to the petition:

August 17 is not that far off. Please give your support to this petition. Sign today and share.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Christiansburg Action Pistol Match

We were visiting in Blacksburg this weekend, which happened to be the same weekend of Christiansburg Izaak Walton League's monthly Action Pistol Match. Since I would be missing the monthly IDPA match at Rivanna, I decided to check out the Christiansburg match.

The Christiansburg Action Pistol matches use IDPA targets and scoring, and in general, follow IDPA rules. However the matches aren't official IDPA matches, so there are some liberties taken to add some interesting challenges.

The first stage shot by the squad that I was on was a classic IDPA stage. There were two partial targets on either side of some barrels to be shot while stationary. Then while moving forward towards cover, two more partial targets were engaged. The final four targets were engaged from cover. It was a fun stage, though I didn't shoot it as well as I would have liked, or frankly, expected. Well, maybe the morning kinks are worked out.

The second stage was an all steel stage. A variety of steel was set up; a Texas Star, square plates, animal targets, a swinging hostage target, and a very, very small steel IDPA target  — 17 in all. All steel was shot while stationary. It's been a number of years since I shot a Texas Star, so that was fun. Hitting the steel "hostage" would be a hit on a non-threat adding to the challenge of the small red swinger. I didn't hit the non-threat, but used all 31 one of my rounds, and left the tiniest target standing.

Arrow marks the little guy

The stage "Sucker Punch" offered another unique shooting challenge. The scenario was that you've been hit in the eye and knocked to the ground, losing the use of your strong-side eye. We had to use a bit of paper towel behind our glasses to block our vision in the eye, forcing us to aim with the weak side eye. The six open targets were engaged while laying on the ground on our strong side. This certainly was new challenge for me, but I was pleasantly surprised to do pretty well.

Next up was a standards stage with three targets with non-threats in between. The stage consisted of three six shot strings. The first shot freestyle from about 15 yards, followed by strong and weak hand strings shot while backing up, starting at about 7 yards.

A stage labeled "What a Drag" had us again shooting strong hand only, this time while dragging a "body." Three targets were engaged strong hand only, while dragging the body to behind cover. At that position there were three more targets to shoot after dropping the dummy. We then moved to another wall where we hit a stomp plate which activated a drop turner, before hitting the last stationary target. Interestingly, this was my best stage of the match, placing 3rd of 19 in SSP.

Our last challenge, "Who's You Daddy?" had us shooting from a seated position. We faced six targets arranged in stacked pairs. There was a target stand directly in front of us that we knocked over at the start. Once we were seated with that target blocking our view, one of the six targets was randomly marked as a non-threat by hanging a man's tie on the target.

This was a very enjoyable and challenging match in a beautiful mountain setting. The other shooters I met were exceptionally friendly too. I didn't shoot as well as I had hoped, but had a great time nonetheless. My finish was 19th of 55 overall and 4th out of 19 in SSP. I'll be sure to check the club calendar whenever I'm visiting Blacksburg to see if I can make future matches.

A few more pictures from the match are here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tempted to Play Hookie

Each morning as I leave for work, I pass by my stack of "range stuff" in the garage. It makes me wish I was going to the range, instead of the office.

One of these days, I'm going to be "too sick" to work.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Gun People Are Good People

I often remark that one of my favorite aspects of the shooting sports is the joy of hanging out with like-minded folks. A common trait seen among this crowd is an unabashed love of our country. I witnessed a moving example of this patriotism last weekend at the Fairfax IDPA Match.

Every match at the club kicks off with the playing of our National Anthem. On Saturday as we stood respectfully as a musical rendition of the Star Spangled Banner played, the PA system suddenly gave out. Without missing a beat, seventy-five shooters spontaneously picked up where the music stopped and finished the song a cappella.

It took my breath away.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Parachutes, Fire Extinguishers, Guns

It's almost a cliche regarding safety equipment that if you don't have it when you need it, you likely won't need it again. I recently ran across this quote from Tom Givens that sums it up quite succinctly.
"You don’t choose when you’ll need your gun; someone else does. And they will typically only inform you at the last moment."

Carry your gun.

See the review of training we took from Tom Givens here.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fairfax IDPA Match

This weekend's IDPA match at the Fairfax Rod & Gun club had four stages offering some interesting and enjoyable shooting challenges. It was also quite a pleasant day weather wise, especially considering we're in the middle of July.

The first stage our squad shot started with us facing a non-threat target, with two very close targets to our right. We turned to shoot the two close targets from retention, before engaging two more distant targets while backing up. To finish the course of fire there were four more targets shot from cover, two of which were head shot only targets. It was fast but fun stage. A lot of folks had never shot from retention prior to this, so they had a new experience here. I finished -0 on the stage.

The next stage was a standards stage with three strings — shot freestyle, strong hand only, and weak hand only. Shots were limited to one per target each string, and fired on the move at six reduced scoring zone targets. I do try to practice one hand shooting regularly, and feel fairly confident while standing still, but I have no opportunity to do it while moving, unless it's in match. I know I had a couple misses, and a bunch of -1 shots, giving me a big 15 down for the stage.

As we were making our way to our third stage, we could hear ringing steel coming from the bay. Then I caught a glance of a swinging target and knew what was up next. We started this stage behind a barricade holding a "cell phone" in front of our face. Dropping the phone, we engaged a fallen popper to activate a swinging target, which we shot while on the move across the bay towards cover. From cover we shot 4 paper targets and another falling popper. It was another -0 stage for me.

The last stage of the match consisted of just three targets, set between 25 and 35 yards. There was a lone non-threat place about center view down range as well. This was going to be the toughest challenge of the day. I've done very little long range shooting of late, and have been less than satisfied with the results. However, I had fortuitously worked on 20 yards shots during the range trip on Friday, and the success that day did help boost my confidence here.

This stage was on a mostly shaded bay, and there was a cloud cover at the time. Though I never thought I'd say it, I lamented not having the bright sun in the afternoon at a match. To my eyes the targets were quit faint in the distance.

Way. Out. There.
Four hits were required on each target. My shooting plan for the stage included a few extra shots on each increasingly distant target; 5 shots, 6 shots, reload, 7 shots. While shooting, it seemed to me that the front of the pistol was dancing all over the place in relation to the target, though I did feel confident in my sight alignment. With great anticipation I walked down range to hear the scores called out. "Down 0. Down 1. Down 2. Non-threat clean." To say I was pleased with the -3 was an understatement.

In general I was happy with how I shot. I need to work more on strong hand and weak hand shooting, but otherwise it was a good day. Overall I ended up 10th out of 75 shooters, and 3rd of 9 in SSP Sharpshooter. Not bad for a guy "that old."

This match is becoming more popular and the club is working to accommodate an increasing number of shooters, though the large crowd makes for a long day. The four stage match took five hours to complete, but it was a most enjoyable way to spend time. Shooting well always raises the fun level up a notch or two, and this month's match was especially fun I thought.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Being That Old

I was having a conversation with someone I just met the other day. The discussion turned to age and its affect on eyesight. The (younger person) asked me how old I was, and I told him. His eyes got big and he remarked, "Wow, I didn't think you were THAT old."

I smiled and thanked him for the compliment. Then it hit me, I've reached the point of being "that old."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Starting The Weekend With Smoke & Noise

Friday afternoon my son and I took a chance on finding an opening at the range after work. To our delight, not only was the weather relatively pleasant, there was an free bay. He was shooting the SIG P226, a gun he's grown quite fond of, while I wanted to get a few rounds down range with the P320 before shooting a match on Saturday morning.

Most of our time was spent at the 10 yard line, shooting "controlled pairs" at the body and head zones. (In the latest update to the range rules, multiple shots, up to two, are permitted.) It was also good to shoot from a holster after so many indoor range sessions.

We also spent a bit of time at the 20 yard line. I was quite happy with those strings, hitting 18 of 20 in the -0 zone. Moving closer we both got in some one-handed shooting, both weak and strong. 

It was a quick and relaxed outing, each of us shooting just 100 rounds. After the quick session, we were both more than ready to enjoy the delicious dinner Colleen had prepared, which I fear we may have devoured at a less than relaxed pace.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Strangeways Brewing Fredericksburg

Last Monday when heading out for an early dinner, Colleen, "Checkered Flag," and I decided to check out Strangeways Brewing. The brewery's new Fredericksburg location has only been open for a couple weeks, and we'd been looking forward to visiting.

We were immediately impressed by how big the place was. In comparison, the Richmond location is relatively small, but the open warehouse setting in Fredericksburg has copious seating. There's also an outdoor seating area, with its own taps. We opted for a table inside.

There were over thirty beers being poured, so our decision making was bit tough. Actually, it wasn't that bad, we just grabbed a flight order mat and started listing beers to try in 5.5 ounce tasters. After eight picks we decided we had a good start.

It was easy to see that our early dinner plans were going to be delayed, but we were already hungry. We grabbed a few packages of chips and nuts from the display cooler to tide us over. Strangeways offers a selection of snacks, cured meats, cheeses and salsas to go along with your beer. Food truck scheduling is also in the works I am told.

The beers we selected, in order:
Sour Cherry Cobbler
Albino Monkey White Ale
Unpretentious IPA
The Homecoming Belgian Farmhouse Saison
The Hinterlander Wild Barleywine
Hawaii Five-O Coconut Porter
Gelati Celesti Chocolate Decadence Ice Cream Stout
Ape Armageddon Imperial Stout (Rye Whiskey Barrel, Brandy Barrel, Bourbon Barrel aged)

We took our time working through the tasting flight. The beers were all very enjoyable, though we all had our own opinions and favorites. The Cherry Cobbler Berliner Weisse was particularly enjoyed by my companions. I was alone in favoring the Unpretentious IPA. The Hinterlander Wild Barleywine gets its unique flavor from the addition of Brett and aging in oak barrels. I found it very tasty, although the Brett funk was a bit odd in the finish. Gelati Celesti Chocolate Decadence Ice Cream Stout evoked a few "oohs" and "ahs." Ape Armageddon Imperial Stout is a bold beer with a strong aroma and flavor, having been aged in Rye, Brandy, and Bourbon barrels. At 11% ABV it's one I'd return to linger over, perhaps with some smoked meat and cheese.

After our flight, it was time for a conversation about food. Since we were making the serendipitous outing into an event, we decided to try out a local Italian restaurant, Orofino, that has been getting great reviews. We managed to make a reservation online, but this also meant we had a bit more time to kill. To pass the time, we ordered one more round, all sticking with some lower ABV offerings; Sour Cherry Cobbler for Checkered Flag, Albino Monkey White Ale for Colleen, and I went for the Homecoming Belgian Farmhouse Saison.

Eventually we headed out to enjoy an absolutely amazing dinner, which is a story for another day. I obviously didn't get to try all the beers I wanted at Strangeways. With 96 draft lines, and 36 or more beers on tap, that's probably that's a desire that will likely remain unfulfilled. I am however, looking forward to working towards it.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day

A truly American holiday made possible by a well-armed citizenry.

There's plenty of room on the calendar for another holiday. Pray we won't need it. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Saturday at Red Dragon Brewery

Late Saturday afternoon we decided to stop by Red Dragon Brewery in Fredericksburg to try out some of their new beers. Red Dragon is constantly updating their taps with new releases, and we haven't visited in a while, so there was plenty to try.

Red Dragon serves no food, nor can they invite food trucks due to archaic and prohibitive Fredericksburg City regulations. We brought along some chips and guacamole to munch on while we enjoyed the beverages.

I was most interested in the small batch New England IPAs they were offering. The New England IPA seems to be the latest trend in craft beer of late. It's essentially a hazy IPA, with a creamy mouthfeel and tropical fruit flavors and aromas. The mimosa of the beer world perhaps? Some craft beer fans have labeled the style "an abomination," but if it tastes good, who am I to pass it by?

Red Dragon's New England IPA is In the Drink, and in addition to the core beer they were pouring two small batch versions this weekend. I started with the version made with the addition of "Idaho 7" hops. The beer had a full mouthfeel with flavors of pine and fruit. It had an interesting bitterness that might be described as "dank" but pleasant.

In The Drink w/ Idaho 7, Bard's Love 

Next I tried the version made with "Vic Secret" hops. The one had a much "juicier" flavor, with even more citrus notes. The same rich think mouthfeel was present. The two varieties were similar but at the same time noticeably different. Both were quite enjoyable, though I would have to pick the Vic Secret variety as my favorite of the two.

While I was "testing" the New England IPAs, Colleen enjoyed a Bard's Love hefeweizen. This beer has a prominent banana and clove aroma and the flavor to match, along with a rich wheat background. It was interesting to see the hefeweizen being to more clear beer of the two.

We were enjoying ourselves, and had no other plans, so we opted to stay for another round. I was also very interested in the Rose of Sharon Welsh Ale being served on cask. Colleen chose that one for herself, so for variety I selected the Here Be Dragons Gose. The Welsh Ale, or Bitter Ale, had sweet caramel and toffee notes. It quite good and I stole more than a couple sips from Colleen's glass. The Gose had a moderately intense tartness along with a refreshing tropical fruit flavor. I savored the refreshing drink for some time.

It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. We enjoyed some excellent beers while we chatted and people watched. I get Untappd updates from the brewery frequently, and am often frustrated that scheduling prevents me from visiting as often as I'd like. Already, I'm being tempted by upcoming beer release events that have been posted. We are definitely looking forward to our next visit to enjoy even more new offerings.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hey! Catbird!

Sitting on the porch enjoying of coffee and listening to the sounds of the woods. It's quite peaceful. And then a very energetic Catbird lands nearby. It's somewhat annoying, but at the same time I'm impressed by his repertoire, not to mention volume.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Guns in Bars: Seven Years

Seven years ago today I walked into a restaurant that served alcohol, while carrying a concealed weapon — and nothing happened.

On July 1, 2010 a Virginia law went into effect allowing persons with concealed handgun permits to keep their guns on their body while dining in an establishment where alcohol was served, as long as they weren't drinking. Prior to this date, guns were only permitted if they were carried openly. (The logic behind that still eludes me to this day.)

Despite the predictions of the gun grabbers and other anti-freedom activists, the past seven years have not brought mayhem and bloodshed. In fact, the first year there was a noted reduction in gun crimes in restaurants.

All in all, carrying while dining while other people enjoy a beer is a non-event. If anything it reduces the number of folks fiddling with their guns in their cars before they head in to eat.

The next step towards freedom is the removal of requiring permission from the State to exercise my rights.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Range Time

I've been hoping to get to the outdoor range after work this week to take advantage of the unseasonably pleasant weather. Unfortunately, the range has been closed for over a week due to a broken access gate. So on Thursday, I jumped on I-95 and headed back to the indoor range. The traffic was bad, and even at a complete stop at times. The problem? The right shoulder was closed at one spot. Drive people. Drive.

I stuck it out since I had a mission for this visit. I had acquired additional magazines for the P320 Compact and wanted to test them before using them in a match, or in every day carry. I also needed to run a bunch of self defense rounds through the new gun. I wasn't worried about their performance, nonetheless I always verify all gear before it's added to my belt. In addition, I had a new pair of shooting glasses that seemed fit me well offered much more clarity than my usual ones. Nerdy as it may be, I was excited about that too.

The range wasn't very crowed at all, but I was assigned a lane between two other shooters. I don't know what the guy to my left was shooting, but I could see the flash in my lane with every shot he took. The guy on the other side removed his gun case from a Gander Mountain bag, and I assume he was there trying out a new purchase. At the far end was a group of three who spent more time laughing than I was entirely comfortable with. 

Given the makeup of the crowd, and the longer drive time, I did my shooting more quickly than usual. I put 150 rounds down range, and ran through all the new mags several times. Shooting quickly with the compact gun, I was able to make up the time lost in the commute and got back to my desk in reasonable time. Not the most relaxed range time I've had, but it was still worth the effort.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Are The Church's New Cardinals Armed?

On June 26, Pope Francis created five new Cardinals in the Church. The Vatican sent out a press release with the news.
At 16.00 today, in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francis held an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of five new cardinals, for the imposition of the berretta, the consignment of the ring and the assignment of the title or diaconate.

The celebration began with the greeting, oration and reading of a passage from the Gospel according to Mark (10: 32-45). The Pope then pronounced his homily.

The Holy Father then read the formula for the creation of cardinals and solemnly pronounced the names of the new cardinals, announcing the presbyteral or diaconal order. The rite continued with the profession of faith of the new cardinals before the people of God and the oath of fidelity and obedience to Pope Francis and his successors.

The new cardinals, following their order of creation, kneeled before the Holy Father, who imposed upon them the cardinals’ zucchetto and the berretta, consigned the ring and assigned to each one a church of Rome as a sign of participation in the Pope’s pastoral care for the city.

After the consignment of the Bull of the creation of cardinals and the assignment of the title or diaconate, the Holy Father Francis exchanged an embrace of peace with each new cardinal.
This momentous event would have been even more remarkable if the Pope really was assigning the Italian handguns to each Cardinal. Unfortunately, what the writer meant to say was "biretta."

Reminds me of this, unrelated picture...

Image found at Church Militant.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

He Would Not Be Deterred From The Pub

Getting hit by the proverbial bus wasn't enough to keep Simon Smith from his destination.

Smith gets thrown 20 feet, dusts himself off and continues his quest.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cavalier IDPA Match

Last Sunday I shot the monthly IDPA match Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club. Although the weekend weather forecast was not looking so great earlier in the week, the weekend turned out to be very pleasant, and I was looking forward shooting in the moderate temperature and sunny skies.

The Virginia State IDPA match also took place this weekend, and many of the regulars at Cavalier were absent. We had just three small squads of shooters, which made for a quick match. Three stages, with five total strings of fire were set up. The stages were simple in design, but as usual, a lot of fun to shoot.

For the first string of stage 1, we were positioned between a couple of posts facing six targets, with two non-threats. After engaging those close targets we had to turn about 90° to the right and engage a lone target placed out about 15 feet. The positioning of a couple of the near targets meant that head shots were the way to go. Cavalier has the new IDPA targets with the 4 inch -0 circle on the head, and the new scoring area is used in scoring. At least we will all have some experience when the tighter shot requirements become mandatory later this year.

For the second string of the stage, we reloaded off the clock and moved to the next position. This found us shooting from behind a wide barricade. An array of two targets with a non-threat in the middle made up the course of fire. From one side of the barricade we shot one of the targets with two body shots and one head shot. Then moving to the opposite side, we engaged the remaining target in the same manner. I was a satisfying -2 for the two-string stage

Stage 2 also consisted of two separate strings of fire. For the first, our loaded gun was placed in a box. The box and all reloads went on a barrel. After retrieving the gun, we shot four targets, in tactical priority, with three hits each. Target placement essentially mandated three head shots on the furthest target. The second string started from the same position, with the gun and reloads on the belt. There were two paper and two steel poppers. Priority required slowing down to shoot a steel target between hitting paper. These were two more fun strings and I ended -3 points down.

The final stage was very interesting and offered the opportunity to do all shooing from a kneeling position. The loaded gun, downloaded to six rounds, and all magazines were left on our "fallen comrade," on who we were performing CPR. There were nine targets spread out before us. The targets were shot in tactical priority which meant some wide swings, past other targets, between shots. I lost my place momentarily but did hit all the targets, in the right order. One of the far targets was scored -4, something I called while shooting. I couldn't see the holes, but my brain registered that the sights were off, although it didn't register a call to make up the shots. I ended up -8 for the stage. 

Excepting the down points tally on the last stage, which may have cost me several places in the standings, I was generally pleased with how I shot. I finished 12th of 34 Overall and 7th of 15 in SSP. 

Thanks to the small turnout and quick stages we were done shooting, literally, in an hour. The rapidity of the match in no way decreased the enjoyment. The stages were interesting, and fun to shoot. I do regret not bringing along a second gun, as I would have had time to shoot a second time. Instead, I made it home with plenty of time to spare for chores. The first of which, in no surprise to regular readers, was to cut the grass.

The rest of the day's pictures are here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Visit to Old Trade Farm Brewery

As we sat on the porch Saturday morning, sipping our coffee, and discussing what to do for the day's adventure, Colleen and I were in agreement; we did not want to deal with traffic or spend a lot of time on the road. I remembered reading an article in the local paper recently about a new brewery that opened just a few weeks ago, near Culpeper. Old Trade Brewery is a farm brewery located in Brandy Station, Virginia. Decision made.

After a quick lunch at Grill 309 in Culpeper, we headed over to the brewery. (If you haven't been to Grill 309, I highly recommend it.) The brewery and tasting room is located in a farm building. We were immediately impressed by the welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, with both indoor and outdoor seating. There is wood stove inside, as well as multiple fire pits outdoors, for cool weather visits. A kids activity area and an outdoor playground complete the family-friendly setting. As an added treat, there's even a free popcorn machine!

We took seats at the bar, and ordered a flight of the four beers on tap that day; Windy Pale Ale, Sarah Berliner Weisse, Tri-Corner Nut Brown Ale, and Thayer's Porter. The Pale Ale had a pleasing bitterness, with a hint of citrus. The Berliner Wiesse was refreshingly tart and fruity. The Brown Ale was quite enjoyable as well, with a crisp nutty flavor. These first three beers were listed as having a mild, ABV around 5%, perfect for an afternoon of relaxing and sipping. The "big" beer of the bunch was the Porter, which checked in at 8.7%. The boldly flavored beer would be quite enjoyable by the fire pit on a cool evening.

As we sipped our flight, brewer and co-owner with his wife, Garrett stopped by to chat. It was interesting to hear his plans for the future of Old Trade, including more beers, a cidery and events. We're definitely looking forward watching the young brewery grow, and being regular visitors.

We found all the beers to well-done and quite tasty. That made our next decisions all the more challenging. Eventually I decided on a glass of the Pale Ale, while Colleen chose the Nut Brown Ale. We took our beers outside to enjoy the view of the corn fields and the mountains to the west.

As we sipped, a few friends showed up and joined us. That led to much interesting conversation about our favorite topics — beer and local breweries. Soon my glass was empty, so I opted to enjoy the Berliner Weisse as we continued our relaxing afternoon.

When we returned home later in the day, I realized that I had been enjoying the beer, the scenery, and the conversation so much that I had neglected to take any pictures of the setting, indoors or out. I will correct that oversight on another visit. I am confident that visit will occur in the very near future.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Another Sheriff Speaks Out

Like Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Sheriff Grady Judd sees the value of an armed, law-abiding populace. And like Sheriff Ivey, he is known for speaking out. The Polk County, Florida law enforcement official sums it up succinctly, "The armed assailant doesn’t plan on you fighting back. He plans on having a gun, doing all the shooting, and you’re just a sitting duck. Well, the ducks need to shoot back."

These guys see the outcomes from "bad guys with guns" every day. They understand well the benefit of a law-abiding and armed population.

See "Sheriff Judd: "If you're not afraid of a gun, get one" for more on the Sheriff's statements.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

It's An Ammo Horde

More details have emerged regarding the leftist terrorist who targeted Republican law makers in Alexandria on June 14.
The gunman who opened fire on a congressional baseball team in Virginia kept a local storage locker with more than 200 rounds of ammunition that he visited daily, including less than an hour before he shot more than 60 times at the GOP team during a morning practice last week.
Two hundred rounds! That number is pointed out like it's some extreme number that should shock us. 200 rounds. I often shoot that much during my lunch break. The idea that he visited his ammunition stock daily is interesting. I wonder if he was sitting there mumbling, "My precious."

See "Gunman at Virginia ballfield kept local storage locker with ammunition"

Friday, June 23, 2017

Five O'Clock Friday: Let's Be Careful Out There

It's the weekend! Enjoy, but remember that threats don't take weekends off.

Campaign For National Reciprocity

This alert from VCDL contain important information regarding the push for national reciprocity. ("National reciprocity" is the catch phrase for "respecting the Constitution.")
On occasion VCDL will get involved at the federal level. Now is one of those times.

We need to pull out all of the stops and push Congress for national reciprocity!

The horrific assassination attempt of Congressmen at a ballpark in Alexandria is a strong catalyst that will hopefully get Congress off their collective behinds and make national reciprocity a reality.  BUT, we need to move now and we need to move decisively.


Because, for example, a bill was just introduced that would ONLY ALLOW MEMBERS OF CONGRESS with CHPs the ability to carry in DC and not the rest of us!

I refer to that as the "Oh, HELL no!" bill.  We need to make sure Congress understands that such a bill is a NON-STARTER and WE WILL, as part of the national reciprocity campaign.


There are THREE excellent bills that we need to fight for:

OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY: H.R. 38.  H.R. 38, called "The Concealed Carry Act of 2017," was introduced by Congressman Richard Hudson of North Carolina.  It makes CHPs good in all states, clarifies that the federal Gun Free School Zone law does not apply to CHP holders, and allows CHP holders to carry on all federally owned lands that are open to the public.  CHP holders will have to obey the "no carry" limitations of the host state, but as I read the law, CHP holders might be exempted from any ammunition or magazine limitations imposed by the host state.

This bill is currently sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is headed up by Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte!  The people living in Congressman Goodlatte's district are going to be critical to our success.  The bill has 99 cosponsors as I write this.

The following Virginia members of the House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors, and we will thank them as part of the campaign:  Dave Bratt, Scott Taylor, Barbara Comstock, Tom Garrett, and Rob Wittman.

The following Virginia members of the House should be signed on, but have NOT done so yet. VCDL members in their districts will be contacting them in due course:  Bob Goodlatte and Morgan Griffith.

The usual suspects from Virginia have not signed on, but they, most of all, need to hear from constituents:  Bobby Scott, Don McEachin, Don Beyer, and Gerry Connally.

SECOND PRIORITY is H.R. 1537, called the "Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 2017," was introduced by our own Congressman Tom Garrett.  This bill makes DC "shall issue" for resident and non-resident CHPs, has training requirements similar to Virginia's requirements, has a 21-day turnaround, and a $75 cap on cost.  The bill also allows DC residents to buy guns in Virginia or Maryland and removes DC's ammunition and magazine restrictions.

The bill is currently in the House Oversight and Government Reform committee.

The only other Virginia Congressman signed on is Rob Wittman.  Hopefully we can bring many more on board.

THIRD PRIORITY is H.R. 2909, called the "D.C. Personal Protection Reciprocity Act," was introduced by Congressman Thomas Massie of Tennessee.  This makes makes DC honor CHPs from all other states.

The bill is currently in the House Oversight and Government Reform committee.

This is a new bill and no one from Virginia has signed on as a co-sponsor yet.

The need for legislation "allowing" the exercise of rights that are already protected by the Constitution shows the absurdity of our nation's laws regarding self defense. I don't believe for a moment that we should need to rely on elected officials "granting" us rights that we already have, and which are not the government's to give (or take.) However, this is where we find ourselves so we must fight on all fronts. VCDL will be organizing a campaign to encourage citizens to contact their legislators in support of these bills. I'll post more info as it becomes available.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Range Time With Son and SIGs

After foiled by crowds last Sunday, my son and I spent some time on the range one evening this week. The range supplies, excepting guns and ammo, had been left in the car, so it was easy to head out without delay after work. We took along the Full Size and Compact SIG P320's and a bunch of ammo. The next 90 minutes was spent swapping back and forth between the two guns and doing some fun plinking.

In an exercise that was, at least to me interesting, we also tried out the 9mm ammo in three different bullet weights; 115, 124, and 135 grain. I shoot all three with regularity, but I've never taken the time to shoot them back to back for comparison.

We keep the ubiquitous 115 grain 9mm ammo around for general plinking. When I find a bargain, I stock up. The 124 grain bullet weight has long been my "go to" for match use. The felt recoil is less snappy in my opinion. Recently, I've been also buying the 135 grain 9mm, mainly due to pricing deals. I knew the "snap" was greatly reduced, but when shooting in direct comparison with the others, the difference is substantial. It's certainly a good choice if one is going to be shooting a lot of rounds in a short time.

It was a very enjoyable outing for both of us. Besides the shooting, we got to talk, a lot. About guns, school, friends, life. And unlike other members, we did it while shooting and reloading magazines. Eventually hunger won out and we opted to head home for dinner — even though we still had ammo in the can. We'll save that for next time.