Friday, May 18, 2018

I Predict Spilled Whiskey

I'm a fan of specialized glassware, I admit it. However, this helix spinning whiskey glass seems like an accident waiting to happen.

I envision myself sitting in my favorite chair, whiskey glass on the side table. Out of the corner of my eye I spy the glass moving, reaching quickly to catch it, I knock it to the floor...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

At The Range

My son and I headed down to the range after work to get in a little more "father & son" shooting time before he heads back to school next week. I opted to take along my Compact SIG P320 this time. I had not shot the gun since the Chesapeake Cup match in February. My plan was to work on slow fire, and trigger and sight control.

I moved the target carrier around between 7, 10, and 12 yards, and made use of the various sized aiming points. I was generally happy with the shooting, up until my first round of strong hand only shooting. Those first 10 shots were surprisingly inconsistent. Shaking my head I went back to shooting with both hands for a bit. Taking a break I stepped into my son's lane and shot his P226 Legion for a bit as well. Very nice gun; makes me want to get out my (plain) P226 next time.

The sloppy SHO shooting stayed on my mind. Instead of finishing with something I was sure to do well on, I opted to shoot my last 20 rounds strong hand only. Since that would be my memory of the day's outing I paid extra attention. The concentration paid off with improved hits and I ended on a high note.

The time passed quickly and we soon headed for home. Unfortunately the drive home did not pass as quickly. Without warning, traffic was at a standstill on the Interstate. We didn't move for a long time, and eventually the road was closed and we finally made it to an exit to take another route home.

Side note observation: If you have been sitting in non-moving traffic for 20 minutes, and you still manage to run into the car in front of you, you might be an idiot. Please stay home.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Always Thinking Stage Strategy

We were out for a hike on Sunday and came across these timbers that the Park Service had put down to help with rainwater diversion. The first thing to pop in my head... fault lines.

I had a similar experience with a mound of dirt recently. I wonder, could this be a sign of addiction?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Traveling in Maryland

I end up driving into Maryland more often than I'd like. I still have family "behind the curtain." There are also, surprisingly, really well-run pistol matches at clubs in the state. I came across this warning posted online...
The possibility of getting unintentionally swept up by Maryland State Police for a gun violation is a LOT worse than your last alert portrayed.

Maryland does not honor concealed carry permits from other states. The Maryland State Police vehicles have their on-board computer connected to the automatic license plate readers in their patrol cars. These computers are set to flag the patrolman of out-of-state vehicles with owners that have concealed carry permits. With state sharing all this information in electronic data bases, the "hits" are found almost instantaneously.

The patrolman can elect to stop the vehicle and challenge the driver to produce his concealed weapon, for which he has a legal permit IN ANOTHER STATE. If the driver is found to have a concealed firearm (handgun), he has violated Maryland State firearms law. The person will be arrested and there is a three year minimum sentence.

Having a concealed carry permit in another state may be probable cause for the patrolman to do a search of the out-of-state vehicle. I've seen this done along the Route 50 stretch between Annapolis and Ocean City, some poor sap with the contents of his vehicle splayed on the ground while the officer searched for an "illegal" hand gun, for which the individual had a legal permit to carry in another state.

The bottom line: IF YOU ARE LEGALLY CARRYING CONCEALED FROM ANOTHER STATE, DO NOT EVEN DRIVE THROUGH MARYLAND. AND IF YOU HAVE A PERMIT FROM ANOTHER STATE, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT CARRYING, EXPECT TO BE STOPPED. According to one Maryland attorney specializing in criminal law, roughly 19 out of 20 of his unlawful gun transportation clients are not from the State of Maryland ( )

I cannot speak to the veracity of the claim, however, former Virginia Governor McAullife vetoed a bill that would have stopped the sharing of VA CHP information with oppressive states like Maryland. I can say from personal experience, the above warning is fair and should be heeded. I have been subjected to a pat down on the shoulder of the highway by law enforcement when returning from a pistol match. The hassle in that case came not from a State Trooper, but from the MD Transit Authority, a group that is well-known for their proclivity for harassing travelers. Although the firearms were being legally transported, "for the safety of the public" my companion and I were detained and patted down (after the scared cop called for backup) during a traffic stop; a stop that we soon found out was made for no legitimate reason.

When I travel to and from matches in Maryland, my firearm and ammo are in separate, and locked, containers. The containers are placed in the trunk or cargo area. I drive with an acute awareness of the speed limit. A copy of U.S.C. Title 18, §926A is within reach. I make doubly sure I have no loose rounds left in my range bag or pockets for the drive home. The purposeful harassment has only happened once, but I prepare and accept that it's always a distinct possibility.

When I travel to visit family, I simply succumb to the loss of my rights and leave my firearm at home.  I then rely solely on wits, observation, and other legal defensive tools.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Gun Craft Beer

A recent Virginia Shooting Sports Association blog post about craft beer caught my eye. "Gun Craft Beer at NRA Annual Meeting" was a headline that was unexpected. I've had few beers sporting gun names, but a firearms-themed craft brewery, well, that got my attention. Interestingly, Gun Craft Beer is located Illinois, a state that is hardly friendly to the 2nd Amendment. 

Self described "gun enthusiasts, patriots and craft beer nuts," Gun Craft Beer offers four beers currently; 2nd Amendment Red IPAM4 Amber AleTactical American Pale Ale, and FAL Belgian Style Black Ale. Unfortunately the link to order the beer online is not working at this time. Hopefully I'll be able to do an in-depth report in the near future.

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Fun Range Trip

This week's range visit was a fun family outing. Our son is home for a couple weeks, so he joined Colleen and I, along with our friend "Checkered Flag." The range was slow so we all had adjacent lanes. I also rented the new SIG Sauer P365 to try out. I've been keenly interested in the gun, but have never seen one "live," so was excited when I found out that Winding Brook had it available for rent.

I started my time with the P365. I set the target at 5 yards, and saw a very nice group of 10 hits form. My three companions followed with a magazine load each, leaving me 10 more rounds to play with.

My initial impressions of the SIG P365 were very favorable. The gun is a little snappy, but it feels very solid in the hand. The shape to the grip allows a good purchase, even with the pinky finger hanging below. The range didn't have a 12 round magazine to try. It's a small gun but it feels bigger than I thought it would. The P365 is surprisingly easy to shoot.

Getting my full size SIG P320 out, I went through a box of ammo shooting the various sized shapes on the target at 7 and 10 yards. After 50 rounds I started to load more magazines but then decided I really wanted to shoot the P365 a bit more. I splurged on another box of ammo from the range.

This time I set the target out at 7 yards and my son and I took turns shooting at the target's various sized squares, circles, and diamonds. I was impressed with the accuracy for a small gun. I fired off 10 rounds as fast as I could and still shot well. The P365 sights comes back on target very quickly. Even shooting strong hand only proved doable.

P 365. Rapid fire. 7 yards.

Putting the P365 away, my range session was finished with some slow 15 yard shooting with the full size gun.

After shooting the new SIG P365, I was not dissuaded from my desire to get one of my own. As I said after the trip, "This gun feels like I need to buy it."

We finished our outing with a tasty meal and fun conversation at a local "burger joint." I hadn't been shooting with my son since he was home for the Christmas break so it was fun to do. I didn't get the chance to shoot his SIG Legion this time out, so we'll just have to plan another range trip soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The 2nd Amendment as White Privilege

The lengths to which the social justice warriors snowflakes go to manufacture outrage never ceases to amaze me. To some, even the natural right to self defense is construed as white privilege.
A gun is a gun, no matter who holds it. NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch is fond of making this point, arguing that firearms act as the “great equalizer,” even among historically marginalized groups. But these statements are aspirational, not descriptive. Gun ownership is less common among African-Americans and Hispanics than whites, and more common among wealthier Americans than poorer ones. The financial and bureaucratic barriers to gun ownership, explained one California police officer, tend to disadvantage the same people who would supposedly be most empowered by the availability of tools of self-defense. “People don't live in dangerous neighborhoods by choice—they often can't afford to live anywhere else,” he said, noting that the task of obtaining a concealed carry permit, which most states require their proverbial Self-Reliant Good Guys with Guns to have, can be a cost-prohibitive one. "Citizens who want to do everything right can’t afford to legally protect themselves.” The cultural proliferation of guns has transformed the “right” of self-defense into a luxury available only to those who can afford it.
Not surprisingly, this tripe was published by GQ, the home of the American metrosexual. The author goes on to explain that the costs of firearms, ammo, training, licensing (!), and even cleaning supplies, make gun ownership unobtainable for non-whites in America.

Among all the facepalm-inducing "logic" in the article, the complaints about licensing fees is exceptionally ironic. Gun laws have their roots in racism, and licensing fees are put in place, with the sole purpose of creating hardship, by the same type of people who incessantly complain about inequality.

The author claims that the "luxury" of gun ownership is unobtainable by non-whites. The basic premise of his writing exhibits racial bias. Blinded by his anti-gun agenda, he fails to see his own racism. There is no logic in leftist thinking.

The author equates having the means to afford a gun to inequality, rather than the result of labor, effort, or choice. But that's how the left sees everything actually. If you don't like something, label it a "privilege" or even "racist." He concludes thusly,
I can’t fault anyone who wants to do all that they can to protect themselves and their loved ones. I respect the decisions of responsible, thoughtful people who use their resources to learn how to use a gun for that purpose. But I am troubled by the fact that doing so is a privilege—another way in which America's culture of guns is most dangerous for the most vulnerable people who live in it.

See "Owning a Gun in America Is a Luxury" for the rest of the diatribe. Try not to choke on your morning coffee.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Maryland IDPA Championship

Last Saturday I joined a group of friends to shot the 2018 Maryland IDPA Championship held at Sanner's Lake Range in Lexington Park, MD. The match offered a balanced variety of scenarios. (Match book) Half the stages required movement, while the rest were shot seated or standing. (Although on one stage, there was lots of movement, even while standing!) There were fast, close targets to be shot on the move or standing still. There were longer shots, requiring careful aiming at both open and restricted targets. Various movers, of both the threat and non-threat variety, added to the interest. I found the match to be challenging, and a whole lot of fun!

The first two stages our squad shot involved shooting from vehicles. Unfortunately the first stage was dropped from the final results. The second, "Mob Attack" was shot while seated inside cab of a pickup truck. A moving non-threat was activated by pushing the gas pedal of the vehicle. Targets were engaged while shooting through both the passenger and driver side windows.

The Standards stage required both strong and weak hand only shooting, at close targets. I've been shooting well with one hand as of late, and even practiced, with much success, just a few days before the match. Alas, this was not one of my better stages.

"Wolf Pack" added the challenge of shooting from an unstable platform. We stood on a suspended platform while shooting at targets that had one side cut off, simulating a wolf shape. The targets were placed in different orientations so you had to pay attention to the location of the -0 zone relative to the rest of the target. One target was a swinger activated by shooting a steel popper. Most of the swinging bridge type stages I've shot moved mostly along one axis. This platform was quite free moving, in all directions, and I had to concentrate on smooth movements and keeping my legs loose. 

It's fairly common start an IDPA stage seated and then either stand or remain seated while shooting. "Office Attack" may have been the first time I started standing, but took a seat before shooting. When you sat down, an up and down non-threat was activated that repeatedly exposed a (mostly) head only target out at about nine yards. There were six other targets and two steel poppers further out to 20 yards.

One thing I've noticed about matches at Sanner's Lake is that a lot of the props have electronics behind them, and moving targets — threat and non-threat alike — often move in random ways. The up and down "good guy" on this stage would move a few times, then pause and move again. As soon as I fired off one of my shots the non-threat popped up and I knew I hit it, with a perfect center-of-the-head hit. It was the only HNT I earned in the match.

After a delicious lunch served by Southern Bobby-Q Catering, we moved on to the final five stages. "The Steaks are High" saw us facing uprange at the grill, tongs in hand. Six targets, close but obscured by barrels and non-threats, required 3 hits each. It was easy and tempting to shoot this one too fast. Many shooters had misses from shooting through barrels. I saw plastic fly in one of my shots and made a well-placed makeup shot.

The first stage for our squad offering a chance to move, "Home Defense" was a classic shoot and move stage, with nine targets engaged around walls and through a port. Despite some menacingly placed non-threats, the close targets offered the chance to shoot fast while moving through the course of fire. On some of the targets, slowing down to make headshots to avoid a non-threat was an option.

The stage called "Home Invasion" was one of my favorites. It was also the one that had me stumped on a plan when the stage descriptions were sent out prior to the match. After starting with "bad breath" distance shots on the first target, at the next position we faced a couple targets at the 20 yard line. Moving down a hallway, in addition to static targets, we encountered two movers; a drop turner activated by a steel popper, and an up and over target that was activated, after a delay, when the shooter passed an electric eye. The course layout was such that one could easily be faced with an empty gun when the disappearing targets came up. I often try get in some extra shots on such targets, if possible, so I was considering that two tactical reloads might be in order.

I rarely use the tactical reload in a match. Yet here I was thinking about doing two in order to have an ample ammo supply for the movers, and to make up any long misses. After walking the stage,  I decided that was indeed my plan. It worked out well and I was pleased.

A couple of 15 yard plates, placed at the shoulders of a non-threat, started the shooting on the stage, "Trap House." After dropping a pizza box from our hands, we engaged the two plates from cover. I recall I actually felt confident about hitting the plates, despite seeing lots of repairs on the nearby penalty target, and indeed hit them 1 for 1, avoiding the non-threat. Negotiating the zigzag course, we found eight more threat targets.

I was the last shooter on the last stage of the day, "Coming Home." Two steel poppers, one placed deviously in front of a non-threat, began the course of fire. We found a couple of head shot only targets, fronted by a non-threat in the center of the stage. At the final point of cover, we had to flip a light switch that activated a swinging non-threat. The non-threat was another of those "spastic" movers, and alternated sitting behind two threat targets. I saw a lot of shooters getting hits on the three non-threats on the stage. The targets all required three hits each. After the switch was flipped, I got one shot off on the first cycle, then fired my final two on the next cycle. After shooting the other target, I thought I'd take a make up on the first target, but the NT was resting behind it. So I waited, and waited. After about 3 seconds the non-threat still hadn't moved away so I called it done. In the end I was glad I didn't shoot again, which would have added time to my run. I was just 5 points down, and had my best stage finish of the match.

The match ran very smoothly. Shooting started at 9:00AM and we were finished before 3:00PM, even with the break for lunch. There's a running joke that it always rains for the Maryland matches, but the forecasted rain held off until the next to the last stage. The rain was fairly light, and there was no need to bag the targets. I shot my last run in a moderate rain, and it was still one of my best runs of the day.

Overall I was pleased with my shooting. The match jitters seemed to be there for the first couple of stages before I calmed. Interestingly, I felt I shot better during the later stages, which is when my energy and accuracy often fade somewhat. I was pleased to have no mental failures in executing my stage plans; any poor performances can be attributed to shooting alone.

Despite the nerves at the start, I found myself much more relaxed than I felt at last month's match. I finished #32 of 147 shooters overall. For the SSP division I was 11th of 49, and 7th of 14 in SSP EX.

It's often said that a pistol match is really just a social even interrupted by occasional gunfire. While the focus is on the shooting, that's actually true to some extent. For this match, eight of my squad were friends with whom I enjoy shooting regularly. That added to the fun, with both advice and friendly banter throughout the day. After the match, four of us celebrated Cinco de Mayo with dinner at a local Mexican restaurant before making the drive home.

More pictures are posted here.