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.