Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stand Ready

For weeks we've been seeing the result of open borders and allowing non-vetted "refugees" into Germany and France. In the United States, we've seen numerous attacks tied to "lone wolf" muslim terrorists. This morning we wake up to the horrific news that islamists have attacked a Catholic church in France during Holy Mass, and martyred Fr. Jacques Hamel by slitting his throat.

But, it can't happen here we are told, again and again. Strangely enough, these same apologists for terror never tell us why it can't happen here. Rest assured, it can, and it will happen here. The followers of islam are coming for Christians. They always come for the Christians.

Tomorrow the Church remembers Sts. Natalia, Aurelius, Liliosa, Felix, and George, all martyrs of islam who suffered at Cordova in Spain under the Caliph Abderrahman II, A.D. 852. May these Saints welcome Fr. Jacques to his final Glory.

For my Virginia readers, I will remind you of the Virginia statute which vaguely states that carrying a weapon "without good and sufficient reason" in a church is not lawful. I will also remind you that former Virginia Attorney Cuccinelli opined that "carrying a weapon for personal protection constitutes a good and sufficient reason under the statute to carry a weapon into a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held there."

Will you be ready? The choice is yours.

Father Jacques, priest and martyr, pray for us.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cavalier IDPA Match

July. In Virginia. The weather is expected to be hot. Very hot. For Sunday's Cavalier IDPA Match, that condition was met, in the extreme. I hadn't shot a match in three weeks, so I sure wasn't going to let a bit of oppressive summer weather and a heat advisory stand in the way of the fun.

This month's match consisted of five quick stages. The first stage had us seated at a table with the loaded gun under a magazine and all mags on the table as well.  Five targets and three non-threats where in front of us. The targets were to be engaged in tactical sequence while seated. Most of the targets where partially exposed with one being further downrange than the others.

The last four stages were shot on the remnants of a couple of stages left from a USPSA match held the previous weekend. When we first approached the stages, I thought, "That's a lot of targets and walls." However there were actually two IDPA stages embedded in each setup. Careful attention in the walkthrough was required to make sure you were shooting at the correct targets. During my walkthrough of one course of fire I at first planned to shoot the wrong target, before realizing my target count was off and I took another look. However, except for a couple targets that you just had to remember not to shoot, paying attention to cover generally allowed only the correct targets to be engaged. 

Each of the resulting four courses of fire required a lot of moving around walls between shooting positions. The stages may have a little more complex than a typical IDPA stage, but they provided fun challenges. Most also offered options on the way they could be shot, depending on shooter preference.

The match was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to have a good time despite the heat. While my dashboard thermometer read "only" 91°, the heat index was over 100°. Truth be told, I prefer the heat, even extreme heat, over shooting in the winter. I'm not fan of cold weather. I struggled at times with sweat inside my shooting glasses, as well as wet hands. At one point, I noticed my mags were coming out of the pouches wet. Despite all that, I had a good match and was pleased with my scores.

Arriving home after the match, I finished up a weekend painting project. That done, it was finally time for a cool shower and a good beer. And then an unplanned nap in my favorite recliner.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Forgotten Respect For Our Flag

I came across this display the other day. It made me sad.

Given that president Obama's greatest legacy may be that flags are perpetually at half-staff, we'll probably see even more of this. Knowledge of how to properly display our nation's flags seems to be a lost art.

Yes, I did contact a representative of the sponsoring organization and await a reply.

4 U.S. Code § 7 - "No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America."

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Vacation Beer Tally

The opportunities to try out new craft beers have been few of late, other activities taking priority. However, as hinted at in previous posts, during our travels to Montana last week I had the chance to try out a decent selection of craft beers.

The "vacation beer" list kicked of with a Virginia beer, Satan's Pony from South Street Brewery in Charlottesville, while eating lunch at the Dulles Airport. The easy-drinking Red Ale was a good way to prep for the rigors of air travel.

Arriving in Montana, I was soon relaxing with a St. Pauli Girl Lager. Not overly exciting, but it was in the fridge at my in-laws. Maybe it was the location, or the company, but it wasn’t horrible.

Soon the exploration of Montana-brewed beers was in full swing, kicking off with Irresistible Amber Ale by Madison River Brewing Company with lunch during a visit to Great Falls. On the return trip back to the Flathead Lake area, we stopped at the local grocery store to add a six pack of Highlander Devils Hump Red Ale from Missoula Brewing Company to the home base fridge options.

Another day found us eating lunch at Tamarack Brewing Company. With that feast I enjoyed pints of Lakeside Pale Ale and Rye Sally Rye PA.

We also paid a visit to Flathead Lake Brewing Company, where we started out with a flight of five beers; Bufflehead Brown Ale, Rising Sun Espresso Porter, Two Rivers Pale Ale, Centennial IPA, and Swimmer's Itch Saison.

The final Montana beer of the trip was Copper John Scotch Ale, another one from Madison River Brewing, enjoyed during another lunch outing. (It seems we ate often too.)

What turned out to be the final beer of the trip was had at a Mexican restaurant. I opted to enjoy a couple pints of Dos Equis Special Lager — when in Rome, and all that.

We had a couple hour layover scheduled around dinner time in Minneapolis during the trip home. I was looking forward to relaxing with a some local beers at the airport. Alas, our Delta flight was delayed, meaning a quick run between gates to catch our connecting flight. As an aside, despite their claim of the best on time record for domestic airlines, three of our four Delta flight legs ran late. And two of those flights were further delayed at the gate for mechanical issues.

It certainly wasn’t the most prolific trip in regard to new beers, but the ones we tried were all quite good. I enjoyed ten different beers from Montana breweries, plus a few sips stolen from the beers Colleen enjoyed. That's not disappointing given the limited time, and it's big state with lots to see. We drove over 1,000 miles during our visit. "Big Sky Country" offered amazing scenery, good food, and it's not lacking in craft beer either.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Republican Platform & The 2nd Amendment

From the 2016 Republican Party Platform, as adopted on July 18...
We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self- defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.

We salute the Republican Congress for defending the right to keep and bear arms by preventing the President from installing a new liberal majority on the Supreme Court. The confirmation to the Court of additional anti-gun justices would eviscerate the Second Amendment’s fundamental protections. Already, local officials in the nation’s capital and elsewhere are defying the Court’s decisions upholding an individual right to bear arms as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald. We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.

We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the current Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban. We call for a thorough investigation — by a new Republican administration — of the deadly “Fast and Furious” operation perpetrated by Department of Justice officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of guns to known violent criminals.
Contrast that with Hillary's view of the 2nd Amendment...
"If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulation."
As with most on the left, there's no part of the Constitution she doesn't seek to destroy.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It's Time To Fight Back

This video from Brevard County, Florida Sheriff Wayne Ivey becomes more relevant with each passing day.

As Lt. Colonel Jeff Cooper concluded in Principles of Personal Defense, "It is high time for society to stop worrying about the criminal, and to let the criminal start worrying about society."

If you are willing to accept being a victim, you WILL be a victim.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Montana: Flathead Lake Brewing

Another local brewery we visited while in Montana was the Flathead Lake Brewing in Bigfork. We had driven by several times during our visit and had noticed the brewpub parking lot was always very full around dinner time. This was obviously a popular stop.

Colleen and I started out by sharing a five beer flight. The beers in the flight, moving clockwise from the top in the picture below, are; Bufflehead Brown Ale, Rising Sun Espresso Porter, Two Rivers Pale Ale, Centennial IPA, and Swimmer's Itch Saison.

Tasting all of these beers didn't the ease our choice for a beer to have with our dinner. We found them all to be very well done and quite tasty. Colleen particularly enjoyed the Saison and the Espresso Porter. My favorites were the Pale Ale and IPA (no surprise there.)

The food options at Flathead Brewing were diverse and the decisions there were equally challenging. Colleen eventually selected the Clam Chowder served in a bread bowl, accompanied by a pint of the Espresso Porter. My dinner consisted of the Centennial IPA and Alehouse Tacos with blackened shrimp. The large soft flour tacos were overstuffed with apple slaw, grilled pineapple pico, and cajun aioli. Large servings is a theme we saw repeated at most of our meals in Montana. My only dissapointement was that the copious shrimp in the tacos did not seem "blackened", but were somewhat plain. Despite lacking the expected and desired spiciness, the tacos were still enjoyable. We topped off our dinner with some light, and delicious, Montana "Moose."

We opted to take advantage of the outdoor seating at the brewing. The deck was in the trees and overlooked the picturesque Flathead Lake. While the temperature was a little cool, it was quite a pleasant setting.

Good beers, good food, attentive service, and a great view. It's not hard to see why Flathead Lake Brewing is such a popular stop in Bigfork. We only got to try a portion of the fifteen or so beers on tap. If time had allowed, a return visit would have been in order to enjoy a few more of the offerings. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Montana: Tamarack Brewing

During our recent trip to visit family in the Flathead Valley of Montana, I made a point to drink regional brews whenever possible. We also squeezed in visit to a couple of local brew pubs. One of the places we visited was Tamarack Brewing Company in Lakeside, MT.

We started our visit with a couple of beers and an appetizer while we perused the rest of the menu. Colleen enjoyed a refreshing, and mildly tart Wind Knot Raspberry Wheat. I started with the Lakeside Pale Ale. The Pale Ale had "juicy" citrus flavor with a hint of pine resin. The finish was slightly bitter. 

As an appetizer we selected the "Railroad Ties." These are fried eggrolls filled with grilled chicken, green chilies, cream cheese, and mozzarella and served with a jalapeƱo honey sauce. Our assumption would be we'd get just a small something to hold us while we waited for lunch. What appeared at the table was three large, fully stuffed egg rolls. They were delicious but the portion size should have been a hint of things to come.

For my main course, I ordered "Verde Pork Burrito." The menu description read, "A huge flour tortilla filled with barbacoa pork, green chili sauce, melted cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Served with Baja black beans, tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream." Huge was the operative word here. The entrees that Colleen and our son ordered were equally generous in size. 

My burrito was quite tasty, and pint of Rye Sally Rye Pale Ale was my selection to accompany it. The Rye Pale Ale had a soft citrus and grassy flavor, with lightly sweet caramel malt in the background. 

We enjoyed the beers and open air seating at Tamarack. The food was delicious and the serving sizes were exceptionally large. Even our waitress commented that the servings are big for a lunch as she handed us a "to go" box for leftovers. I think a good plan at Tamarack would be to share "appetizers" and order more beer. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Male Logic

It's all in your point of view...

Woman:  Do you drink beer?

Man:  Yes

Woman:  How many beers a day?

Man:  Usually about 3

Woman:  How much do you pay per beer?

Man: $5.00 which includes a tip.

Woman:  And how long have you been drinking?

Man: About 20 years, I suppose

Woman: So a beer costs $5.00 and you have 3 beers a day which puts your spending each month at $450.00.   In one year, it would be approximately $5400.00 correct?

Man:  Correct

Woman:  If in 1 year you spend $5400.00, not accounting for inflation, the past 20 years puts your spending at $108,000.00 correct?

Man:  Correct

Woman:  Do you know that if you didn't drink so much beer, that money could have been put in a step-up interest savings account and after accounting for compound interest for the past 20 years, you could have now bought a  Ferrari?

Man:  Do you drink beer?

Woman:  No.

Man:  Where's your Ferrari?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Practical Shooting Timer iOS App

While I'm not as avid about it as I was a few years ago, I still try to get in some dry fire practice once or twice a week. I generally use my shot timer to start each practice string. However, since the timer doesn't pick up the hammer fall from the unloaded gun, it's of limited use in this situation. While it's possible to set short par times to get the approximate time to the first shot, there's no measurement for subsequent shots.

At one time I used the SureFire timer app on my iPhone for timing during dry fire, but that app stopped working on newer phones and is now no longer available. Recently I ran across Practical Shooting Timer. This iPhone app comes in both a free version and a Pro version that has a few additional features.

Practical Shooting Timer offers the same basic features as a standard shot timer. You can set the start beep to be instant, delayed or random. The timer screen shows times for first and last shot times, and the review function allows a review of all the splits in a string. There are also par time and repeat settings.

Of course, for my purposes, the real test would be if the app picked up the sounds of dry fire. The application has a sensitivity adjustment and even comes with a dry fire preset. I found that on my iPhone 6 the double action hammer clicks on my Sig were detected with no problems. I set the phone on a table and stood 4-5 feet away and the "shots" were recorded reliably. For drills involving movement, putting the phone on a belt clip works well.

When setting up a drill in the app, you can also optionally add an editable "Standby" command. (Though I wasn't able to get the app the give the "Staaaaaandbyyyyy" inflection usually heard on the range.) You can also add a handy "Make Ready" command and delay. For my draw practice I set up a drill with a random start, added "Make Ready" and "Standby" commands, and set it to repeat five times. This allowed me to hit the start button once and practice drawing and shooting multiple times without resetting the timer.

The Pro version of the application removes the small ads at the top of the screen. There are additional settings to create and save multiple drill settings, and the ability to set two par times in a string. The paid app also has a "spy mode" setting that I did not test. Otherwise the functionality of the apps are the same. 

After a few practice sessions I came across a couple minor issues. On occasion the microphone stopped picking up the sounds but tapping the calibration button quickly corrected that. While you can save the shot data from a string of fire to a file for later review, when using the repeat function, the shot data is reset after each string so only the last string is saved. I would like to see that feature changed so that I don't have to look at the timer between each string in a repeated drill.

While I'll stick with my real shot timer for live fire at the range, I will keep the Practical Shooting Timer app around for dry fire practice. I was very pleased with the ease of using the iPhone application, as well as the reliable "shot" recording. Being able to accurately record all the shots and splits during dry fire will certainly be beneficial. Maybe it'll even motivate me to practice more often.

Monday, July 4, 2016

On Independence Day

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America 
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ...

So many people today seems to have forgotten the reason these words were written. On this Independence Day, I've been reflecting on the ongoing and ever-increasing attacks on freedom by the obama administration and comrades over the years. The left's ongoing war to strengthen their hold over free Americans has reached a level of oppression unmatched in recent history. We find ourselves fighting yet another war against tyranny.

The president and his conspirators — some willing, some just useful idiots — have recently pulled out a favorite tool of oppressive regimes throughout history. In the past weeks the enemies of freedom have shown their true colors through an unabashed promotion of secret "lists" to which they can add Americans, with no due process, or even knowledge, by the affected citizen. Not content with failed and ineffective attempts to track terrorists, those in power now seek to use their secret lists to deny Constitutional rights to law-abiding citizens. Of all this administration's attacks on the Constitution and our freedom over the years, none could be more dangerous than this. It's telling when we realize that this latest attack on freedom is opposed by both the NRA and the ACLU.

Let's celebrate our nation's history, and the liberty and prosperity it provides. This is still the greatest nation that has ever existed. God had blessed us for over 200 years. Unfortunately there are those who seek to destroy what has been built. Many in and out of government seem to forget, or choose to ignore, the Founding Fathers' precept that they gain their authority "from the consent of the governed." So as we celebrate our first break from an overbearing government two hundred and forty years ago, we must be ever mindful of the threat we face today from within our own government. Today's holiday serves as a warning as much as a celebration. We've had reason to be concerned for years, but to still deny the threat now is both foolhardy and ignorant.

Enjoy the celebrations. And pray for the future.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sanner's Lake IDPA Match

I got to spend part of this Independence weekend shooting a fun IDPA match, though it was somewhat ironic to be doing it in the less-than-free state of Maryland. This was the first time I attended the monthly match at the Sanner's Lake Sportsmen's Club in Lexington Park, MD. I was a little concerned about the two hour drive and early morning alarm clock setting, but as it turned out, the day was more than worth those minor inconveniences. Excepting the early morning sun that stayed in my eyes most of the trip, the drive was scenic and I arrived with time to spare.

The match consisted of six stages, requiring about 90 rounds to complete. That's a relatively high round count for most local matches I attend, so that was a bonus and made the drive time even more worthwhile.

The first stage our squad shot started with the loaded gun in an IDPA box on a table, along with the magazines. Beginning the stage with a short run to the table to retrieve the gun, we then engaged six targets in tactical sequence. The placement of the targets behind non-threats and in small ports in a wall pretty much made head shots a requirement. Finishing the stage -0 was a great way to start the match.

The next scenario started seated at a table, with the unloaded gun and all needed mags on the table. Loading the gun, we engaged targets on either side while seated. The grabbing a magazine — most folks did a tactical reload here — we moved to engage five targets that were behind a wall of barrels.

Next up was a "standards" stage with three targets at seven yards. All the targets had parts of the bodies and heads painted as hard cover. A total, and limit, of eighteen shots was required; two on each target freestyle, then strong hand only, then support hand only, all in a single string. At least two head shots were required on each target. I felt I dropped too many points on the stage, but still finished well.

Following that challenge, we moved to a stage shot entirely on the move. There were three open targets downrange beyond three barrels arranged in a triangle about 7 yards apart. We were allowed three magazines loaded to six rounds each. Two shots were put on each target, while moving around the barrels in three directions; across, forward, then backing up, with a reload at each direction change.

The fifth stage shot had us starting behind a barrel, then engaging three target while advancing to a wall. At the wall there were three more targets engaged from cover. Then we made a fast spring to find the final two targets hidden low behind a row of barrels. It was a fast, fun stage and I finished down just 2 points.

The last stage simulated shooting over the hood and through the window of a car, with six fairly open targets, though with at least one head shot forced by hard cover. Some low shots found me -5 for the stage.

There was a lot of variety found in the courses of fire. (Photos of all the stages can be found here.) There were head shots, close and far targets, shooting on the move at both open and partial targets, loaded and unloaded starts, as well as holstered and table starts. It was quite an enjoyable match, and an awesome start to the holiday weekend. I was very pleased with how I shot, placing very well in the division, classification and overall stats. As always, there was a thing or two to improve on, but if there wasn't, what would be the point?

Since it was a new venue for me, I didn't know anyone on my squad (nor I believe, anyone at the match) but the folks were all friendly and a very enjoyable time was had. The well-organized match moved smoothly and quickly. We started shooting around 9:00 AM and were finished by 11:30. As suspected, the drive home took longer than the morning drive. A combination of accidents and holiday traffic added about 30 minutes to the drive. Despite the drive time, I am glad I made the decision to make the trip. I'm looking forward to getting to another Sanner's Lake IDPA match soon.