Friday, August 17, 2018

Finally, To The Range

Work and family responsibilities kept me away from the range last week, and nearly did so this week as well. Fortunately, a visit from a family friend led to an unplanned excursion on Thursday. I was happy to clear up some work early, and even more pleased that Colleen could join us as well.

I generally schedule my range trips on the "off hours" to avoid crowds. Not so this time. The range was busier than I usually experience, but we still managed to get three adjacent lanes in the same bay.

A lot of targets out there

My session began at 10 yards, most of the time shooting fast 2 - 4 shot strings, and concentrating on not pushing the shots to the left when shooting fast, as I experienced recently. I also threw in some head shot work, enjoying the ability to see the small target beyond the new small front sight.

Feeling good, I pushed the target out to 20 yards. Of the next 50 rounds fired, I managed to keep all but 8 inside the -0 zone. That success I also attribute to the narrow front sight not covering the entire target at distance. I may be late to the party, but I am certainly appreciating the improved sight picture.

Finally, putting a new target at 7 yards, I ran a magazine each doing some SHO and WHO shooting. I was not as pleased with that portion of my practice session. Admittedly I was getting tired by this point, so will revisit one-handeds shooting, for an extended time, soon. The range time finished with several quick magazines fired at the timed turning target.

The serendipitous range trip turned out to be both a lot of fun, and a good practice session. It was enjoyable having Colleen and our friend along, for both the shooting, and the long drive to and from the range.

No More Anonymous Comments

For now anyway.

A while back, Blogger did away with supporting Open ID for commenting on blog posts. The only options now are Google ID and anonymous posting. I allowed anonymous posting so as to not force Google ID on folks. However, in the ensuing weeks, I've had but one legitimate post from an anonymous commenter. Lately, the anonymous spam posts have increased, reaching multiple comments an hour at times. Sadly, it's apparent theses comments are coming from a single spammer, but that doesn't stop my email from blowing up. Sometimes the spam comments are mildly entertaining, the latest don't even have that going for them.

I've disabled anonymous commenting. I may turn it back on later. Or I might not.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Old Blatz Beer Commercial

Saw this the other day over at New Jovian Thunderbolt.

I remember Blatz was often the beer of choice during those lean college years. In those days we looked for quantity over quality. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Five O'Clock Friday: Time to Decompress

It's been a slow no blogging week. Life is good, however I've had neither the time nor the inspiration to write.

I changed positions at work a few months ago, and it's keeping me busy, even if I am enjoying it. My brain is always "on" while working through finances, contracts, licensing, and so forth. When I get home, after a few final checks of my mail, I am ready to relax. Period.

That usually means sitting on my screen porch, sipping coffee, or a beer, or maybe a bourbon. I try to avoid having my laptop with me, preferring to simply stare into the woods while I recharge.

But, it's the weekend. Here's hoping for refreshment and replenishment.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sanner's Lake July IDPA Match

On Saturday, I joined three friends for the trip across the Potomac River to shoot the monthly IDPA match at Sanner's Lake. I was looking forward to shooting the new fiber optic sight outdoors in sunlight. The Delaware State IDPA Match was also taking place over the weekend, so attendance at the monthly match was low, with just 38 shooters participating.

The first stage had us moving and shooting around walls. Seven targets requiring two hits each were found on the stage, along with a non-threat and a barrel stack adding to the challenge. It was a fun, quick stage that got my match off to a good start, shooting down zero.

Next up was an unusual Standards stage with a lone target set at five yards, and engaged in four separate strings. String 1 was draw and fire one shot, string 2 was four rounds low ready, three shots strong hand only from low ready was required for the third string, and two rounds weak hand only from low ready finished the stage. This turned out to be too complicated for my early morning brain. After firing just two of the SHO shots, I moved the gun to my support hand and awaited the start of the next string. After a bit a I heard a whisper behind me, "Wasn't it three shots?" D'oh! I quickly transferred the gun back and fired another shot. Game over. That delay was 5 seconds or more, and moved me to the bottom of the pack for that stage. Moving on...

The next stage was shot from behind a barricade with three target arrays set down range. Each pair of targets had a non-threat in the center, with the center array requiring shots from both sides of the barricade. I ended up shooting this stage twice. On my first run, as I moved my gun to the second target on the left side, it wasn't there! Looking over my gun I saw the target had blown over and was laying at a 45 degree angle. The stage was reset and I made another run. This was another good run, which I shot just two down.

"Bad Invitation" was shot from a seated position with the gun loaded with six rounds and set on the table. Three paper targets and a falling steel popper where set up on each side. The left and right arrays were shot in two separate strings; three paper, a reload from the belt, and repeat the second string for the other side. I shot the stage just two down. However, the posted online results that evening showed a HNT and a PE instead of the two down one targets. I learned later this was a result of improper data entry on the tablet, that error dropped me down some 8 spots in the posted rankings.

Stage five was another Standards stage with six targets placed from 5 to 16 yards. Starting with the gun held in the support hand at low ready, the closest target was shot WHO, the next SHO, and the final four, freestyle. I was 6 points down for the stage.

The final stage we shot was the IDPA 5x5 Classifier, which was incorporated into the match to, theoretically, discourage sandbagging. I was confident going into the stage. I shot at a pace I was comfortable with from my practice this week, and which would have upheld my classification. Unfortunately my shots were all grouping low, leading to significant points down. I was also aware at the time that I rushed the final head shot and shot low.

I had some good stages, and some disappointing stages, never really finding my groove. Although I shot most stages well, I never really felt like I was fully engaged. I "officially" finished 13th overall, and 6th of 18 on SSP — if the scores are to be believed. In a post match review with others, unfortunately several scoring errors were in evidence similar to the ones mentioned above for other shooters as well; where target points down were entered as PE's and HNT's. My overall placement was likely 10th or 11th. Match staff were in short supply, and there was some unfamiliarity with the scoring devices by the willing volunteers. There was no Lexus at stake and I was there for the practice above all. While disconcerting on paper, I'm not losing sleep over it, but will be sure to review future score tabulations more closely.

Still, the match illustrated some of my own weaknesses to be addressed. Despite all my practice recently being of the "stand and shoot" variety, I tend to not do as well on "stand and shoot" type stages in matches. Sight impatience? Head games? I'll figure it out.

The match ran quickly and smoothly, and we were leaving the range by 11:00. While fun, the stages were a bit less exciting than we usually see at this venue. I suspect that the limited staff and poor weather in the days before the match led to simpler stages being set up. However, the long drive home was full of fun conversation with friends, not to mention stops for lunch and to shop for distilled beverages. I have some things to work on in future practices, and am looking forward to improvements going forward.

More stage pics here.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Five O'Clock Friday: Printing Guns

Almost finished.

Beware of "ghost guns" this weekend.

A Better Practice Session

I managed to get in another visit to the range this week. (Actually it's not the range time that's hard to find, it's the time to travel to and from the range that eats up the afternoon.) I felt I needed another session after the mixed results last time.

I started out shooting at 10 yards, at a moderate pace, alternating between body and head shots. I'm starting to feel a lot more confident with the head shots now that the front sight doesn't cover the whole target. I can start trying for -0 hits instead of just "on paper" when aiming at the head zone.

A fresh target in place, the next 50 rounds were fired in rapid, 4, 5, or 6 shot strings. Shooting as fast as I could get an acceptable sight picture, I was seeing the benefits of the narrow sight even on the larger target zone and feeling more confident in my shot calling.

Next up was a bit of longer distance shooting with the target set at 20 yards. Here again, I was seeing the benefit of the competition sites. More target area visible behind the sight means easier and more precise target alignment. Until the final magazine, when fatigue led to faster, more careless shooting, the majority of the hits were in the center -0 area.

Opting to shoot one more box of ammo, just to finish on a "high note," I hung the target at an easy 7 yards. Splitting the shots between the head and body zones, I dropped just one head shot into the -1 head area.

Speeding up shooting by the 50 rounds of extra fast trigger pulls, my typically short range time is finished even more quickly. Most days the travel time for a range trip is four times the time spent shooting, unless there happens to be an incident on the highway, at which point the ratio becomes even more lopsided. However, the shooting is fun and beneficial, so it's an acceptable tradeoff, for now.