Thursday, June 21, 2018

Weekly Range Session

I do miss being able to practice outdoors, but when the "feels like" temperature hits 102°, I am more accepting of the limits at an indoor range. That was my thought as I drove to the range one day after work this week. (Still, it was a bittersweet thought of fun days past.)

I started with a couple of magazines shot strong hand only and then some rapid fire strings at 7 yards. After putting up a fresh target, I pushed the carrier out just a bit further to 12 yards. I did the rest of my practice at that distance.


In my last practice I was trying for more tightly aimed aimed shots. For this outing I tried to shoot as fast as I felt I would at that distance in a match, though obviously without the pressure of competition. Shooting 2 - 4 shot strings, I managed keep most of the hits within the -0 zone. I was somewhat surprised by not only the consistency, but that I was able to make out the hits on the paper at 12 yards. Generally 10 yards is my limit; perhaps either the lighting was brighter or my eyes less fatigued than usual.

In any event, it was wholly satisfying. Changing the target I contemplated my next drill. I had originally thought to try some 25 yard shooting, but decided to continue at the middle distance and try to pick up the speed even more. I shot for a total of 100 rounds at that distance.


It was a fun practice session. One that left me admonishing myself, "Now take that to the match."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Derp Runs Deep With This One

This might possibly be the most inane thing I've read online all week, if not all year. In a Letter to the Editor in our local bird cage liner, entitled "Police need more clearly defined rules of engagement"...
All police departments should have very clearly defined rules of engagement, with an emphasis on the use of non-lethal devices, i.e., Tasers and rubber bullets, before guns are discharged. And they should all have their body cameras turned on.

Perhaps you remember a time when the police always fired a shot in the air and shouted “Stop! Police!” before they shot at someone. What has happened to this idea? I haven’t heard it mentioned for years, nor have I seen it used in any of the videos showing police shootings.

Is “protect and serve” still in effect as police forces become more militarized?

It's distressing that people who are incapable of telling the difference between TV and real life walk free in the streets. Such a disconnect with realty can be a dangerous thing. Sadly, this is just the sort of failed logic we see from those most vocal about "gun control." Gun control and anti-police sentiments walk hand in hand these days. These people have absolutely no idea about guns or self-defense yet seek to place restrictions on the rights of others. In their distorted reality they think that defending yourself denies "due process" to criminals. As is typical of the left, they have greater concern for thugs than for innocent people. This letter writer seems to care little about innocent bystanders who may be injured or killed by the falling bullets from those "shots in the air."

This is why it's generally better to ignore arguments from the left, you can't argue using logic when the concept is lost on them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Stone Brewing ///Fear.Movie.Lions

Stone Brewing ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA is a newly release beer brewed at Stone's new Richmond, VA facility. Officially debuting on June 4, I was treated to a couple of advanced samples for review. Unfortunately, life got in the way of me getting out an early review. While the pre-release samples were brewed in California, ///Fear.Movie.Lions will be brewed exclusively in Richmond, and distributed only in the eastern U.S.

The beer's unusual name comes from what3words. what3words is a unique global addressing system that attempts to settle directions in previously difficult to locate locations around the world. The system divides the earth into 3 meter by 3 meter squares, each designated by a unique three word address. I diverted from drinking the beer to reading about what3words; it's an interesting concept and something I'll watch to see how it catches on. (I also spent time exploring the 3 meter addresses in my home with the iPhone app.) The name ///Fear.Movie.Lions denotes the address of the 3 meter square in the Richmond brewery where this beer was created.



Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions takes the concept of the unfiltered New England IPA and ramps it up into the Double IPA realm. The beer pours very hazy and thick looking. It's a dark marmalade color topped by a rich beige head. The aroma brings notes of grass, spices, and tropical fruit, and a hint of dankness. The flavor profile is rich with a range of fresh "juicy" citrus fruit, notably orange, marmalade and grapefruit. Moderate citrus rind bitterness is balanced by a hint of sweet malt. Mouthfeel is thick and the lingering citrus notes extend the flavor experience. The ABV of 8.5% is well masked, but warrants care in sipping.

If you're a fan of the New England IPA style, or Double IPAs, or citrusy beers in general, Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions is sure to satisfy. That is, as long as you're on the East Coast.

The beer reviewed was an unsolicited sample from the brewery. All drinking and commenting is done of my own free will.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Rivanna IDPA Match

Too many conflicting commitments and other activities have prevented me from getting to the monthly IDPA matches at Rivanna since last February. This weekend, I was finally able to get there, and despite much time spent on the road lately, I was looking forward to rising early and hitting the match.

Attendance was a bit lighter than usual, just 31 shooters, but that also meant a quick morning of shooting with little down time. We shot the four stages in just over 2 hours.

The first stage had us starting in the middle of a wall, the shooters choice of which direction to go at the buzzer. Groups of two or three targets, along with some non-threats, were found at four shooting positions. Despite the stage walls and cover positions being symmetrical to either side, the target positioning was not. That made stage plan awareness all the more critical. I was relieved to shoot the first "get over the nerves" stage clean with no points down.

The second stage was an "L" shaped course. The initial targets were engaged while advancing down the long leg, shooting towards to side berm. Making the turn we found are targets around the ends of the short wall. It was a (seemingly) easy stage that lured me into shooting too fast, and racking up three points down and a hit on a non-threat.



For the next stage, match director Tony had rolled out the red Mazda pickup often seen at Rivanna. I am not totally sure why, but I always seem to enjoy the stages when we shoot from, and around, this prop.

The stage began with the shooter in the driver's seat and the loaded gun on the passenger seat, truck door closed. There were two targets to be engaged through the passenger window opening, and one via the driver's side. Exiting the vehicle three more targets were available. It was a fun stage which I shot just one point down. Alas, I was informed that while shooting the last three targets I had one foot remaining in the vehicle; the stage brief noted that both feet had to be out of the truck and on the ground. That cost me a three second PE.



The fourth and final stage is the one that had folks talking. Three groups of targets were placed downrange of three shooting boxes. Each target array was comprised of three threat targets behind two non-threats. Each of the targets had limited scoring zones available, and to my eyes, as you moved left to right, the center target had an increasingly smaller area exposed. Careful aiming was called for. There were numerous repair pasters already on many of the non-threats from previous shooters. I thought to myself, "This is the last stage of the day, so finish strong."



I wasn't overly concerned about the time, I just wanted to shoot it without hitting any non-threats. This was my chance to make up for the PE on the previous stage, and the careless HNT on stage 2. I took my time and concentrated hard of sight picture and trigger press, and ended up just three points down and no hits on the non-threats.

When I finished I told a friend I felt like that was my best stage of the match. I joked that the setup forced me to actually pay attention to the sights and to take my time. And that all paid off. I ended up with the second best score overall on that stage, second only to the overall match winner. Interestingly, despite feeling like I shot slow, even my raw time was the fourth fastest. It was a great way to end the match, and I think there are some valuable lessons there for me as well.

We finished shooting before the afternoon heat became unpleasant, which added to the enjoyment of the morning. The stages offered an interesting variety of shooting challenges. My score put me 5th of 31 shooters overall, and 1st of 10 in the SSP division.

The drive home found me stuck behind farm vehicles on a long "no passing" road several times. On the bright side that the extra drive time gave me time to enjoy, several times over, the new Buddy Guy album I had downloaded the day before. All and all this was a most excellent start to the weekend. There was more fun to be had later in the day.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Saturday Fire and Whiskey

After shooting a quick, fun IDPA match Saturday morning, I got some chores around the house taken care of. Not the least of which was getting the spare grill tank refilled to ensure successful completion of Sunday's steaks. Despite the after-dinner temperature on Saturday hovering around 80°, I threw a couple logs in the fire pit and we enjoyed a relaxing, but warm, evening sipping a bit of rye whiskey around the fire. The birds were singing in trees and there were even a few fireflies making an early appearance.



We are expecting a much more oppressive heat blast to come through the next few days, so it was good to get in one more fire before summer truly arrives.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Harry's Alehouse Wing & Beer Pairing

Harry's Alehouse held a Wing & Craft Beer Pairing event this week, featuring beers from Flying Dog Brewery. Having attended several previous beer dinners at Harry's, we were excited for the next adventure. We were not disappointed.

Harry's Chef James put together four tasty wing dishes to go along with four beers. This event was run a little differently than previous dinners, in that all the beers and food were served together and we enjoyed them at our own pace. A printed handout was provided that explained the choices behind the pairings. All four of the beers from Flying Dog were ones that I've had before so I was familiar with them already. I was looking forward to Chef's take on the food pairings.




The first pairing was "Elote Wings" served with Numero Uno Summer Cerveza. The chargrilled wings were tossed in a thick chili-lime cotija cheese sauce. The toasted grain and lime zest flavors of the beer were enhanced by the matching flavors of the cheese and lime sauce coating the wings.

Next up was the popular Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale served with "Bay-B-Que Wings" which were deep fried then tossed in OLD BAY BBQ sauce. The wing coating was moderately spicy with a hint of sweetness. The OLD BAY flavored beer maintained the red pepper spiciness providing a seamless flavor experience.

One of my favorite Flying Dog beers, Bloodline Blood Orange IPA was paired up with "Orange Mango Habanero Jerk Wings." Jerk-spiced and citrus-marinated grilled wings were finished with a Orange Habanero glaze. It should come as no surprise I enjoyed this combination very much. The wings were spicy with a lingering heat that was moderated but not abated by the bitter citrus hops in the beer. I was about to declare this the winning pair, until the surprise contender seen in the final offering.

Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter finished the evening served with "Smoked Salt and Coffee Crusted Wings." The Coffee-brined and Coffee-herb-rubbed baked wings had a Smoked Salt and Maple glaze. The beer by itself provided rich coffee, chocolate and bourbon notes. When paired with the roasted coffee and salt encrusted wings, the combination was amazing. Despite my preference for hoppy beer and spicy food, this combination the winner of the night in my opinion.

This was a sold out and crowded event, and the staff worked hard to get everyone served and provide water, additional beers, and plenty of napkins throughout the evening. All the diners appeared to enjoy themselves very much. It was easy to work through all the food and beer at one's own leisure. The pairings all worked quite well. The standard wings offered at Harry's Alehouse are one of my favorite dishes there, but any of this evening's offerings would make an excellent addition to the menu. 

A dozen wings and the four tasters of beers, not to mention my "pre-game" pint of Center of the Universe Chameleon Orange IPA, make for a very satiating meal. Nonetheless, when one is enjoying an evening of feasting, it's tough to call it quits. We decided to cap off the evening with tasty, and cooling, milkshakes on our way home. It was a fitting cap to an enjoyable night out.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flag Day & Other American Celebrations

On June 14, 1777, the Second Congressional Congress officially adopted the design of our nation's flag. Flag Day is celebrated each June 14 as Americans recognize that part of our history. Given the lack of respect so many show our flag these days, Flag Day offers an opportunity to remind people just what that flag stands for.




There are other, less official, holidays on today's calendar as well. June 14 is has been designated as National Bourbon Day. And if that doesn't tickle your tastebuds, it's also National Strawberry Shortcake Day

Our flag, some bourbon, and a sweet dessert — it really doesn't get more American than that!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Parents Lobby To Keep Kids Unsafe

The Virginia Citizens Defense League alerting members on the efforts of the Virginia PTA.
The Virginia Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is distributing their 2018 Legislative Priorities and it looks like Michael Bloomberg wrote it.

What is the PTA doing lobbying against our civil rights?!  That is NOT what they are supposed to be doing and we need to let them know that.

Here is item #5 on their agenda:

5. Gun Violence Prevention

* Support legislation requiring and maintaining schools as gun-free zones
* Support increased penalties for possession, discharging or brandishing weapons within school buildings
* Support the right of Virginia's children to an education in an environment that is safe and non-violent
* Support universal background checks for the sale and possession of firearms and closing the gun show loophole

-

OK, let's look at those items, one-by-one:

* Support legislation requiring and maintaining schools as gun-free zones

Gun-free zones are the PROBLEM, not the solution.  Over 90% of mass public shootings are in gun-free zones.  This policy endangers the safety in schools by giving the armed attacker the advantage.  The attacker knows that if the resource office isn't there, the attacker has total control of the school and can begin killing people immediately.  (Resource officers are not assigned to some schools and are not always present when they are assigned, as they might be in court or perhaps checking on another school.)  If the resource officer is there, then the attacker knows he will have to kill the officer first with a sneak attack and then the school is his to with as he pleases.

* Support increased penalties for possession, discharging or brandishing weapons within school buildings

It is ALREADY a FELONY to have a firearm on school property that is not unloaded and stowed in a vehicle (except CHP holders can have a loaded, concealed handgun in the vehicle as long as the CHP holder stays in their vehicle).  You can't really increase the penalty beyond that unless you make it a capital crime.

* Support the right of Virginia's children to an education in an environment that is safe and non-violent

Who does't want this?  But violence, including deadly violence, involves much more than just firearms, but that's really all the PTA is concerned with.

* Support universal background checks for the sale and possession of firearms and closing the gun show loophole

Most of the school killers are children, who can't yet purchase a gun and, therefore, are not subject to background checks of any kind.  Of those killers who are 18 or older, virtually all of them either passed a background check or stole their gun.  So universal background checks would make NO difference in reducing attacks on schools.  A background check for POSSESSION of a firearm is what Illinois has - works great in Chicago, doesn't it?  The fact that the PTA supports BOTH universal background checks AND closing the non-existing gun-show loophole, tells me they really don't understand either one.

-

ACTION ITEMS

1)  If you are a member of the Virginia PTA, consider dropping your membership and be sure to tell them why you are not renewing.

2)  Contact both the president, Sarah Gross, and the Advocacy Chair, Kim Chandler, by email:

Email address: advocacy@vapta.org; president@vapta.org

Suggested Subject: The Virginia PTA should not be lobbying against our civil rights!

Suggested Message: (Updated June 14)

 I don't appreciate the Virginia PTA lobbying to restrict my civil right to own a gun and carry it for self-defense.  The Virginia PTA should be supporting our civil rights, not opposing them.  Schools being gun-free zones endanger students; it does not make them safer. Utah and New Hampshire schools are not gun-free zones and they haven't experienced the shootings that gun-free schools have in Virginia, Florida, Colorado, and other states.

Students who are too young to legally buy a gun commit most school shootings - they won’t have had a background check since the system only checks legal gun purchasers.  The older killers have either previously passed a background check or have stolen the gun. Either way, universal background checks will NOT reduce school violence.

The Virginia PTA needs to remove ALL gun-control advocacy from their legislative agenda and stay away from denying the civil rights of Virginia's gun owners.

Sincerely,


3)  You can also contact the PTA by phone: (804) 264-1234
******** 

Whenever the left trots out the "do it for the children" angle, you can be sure they are just dancing in the blood of the dead in order distract from their real agenda. Nothing the VA PTA  proposes makes children safer. These proposals ONLY affect law abiding citizens. The agenda of "gun control" is control, not safety.

Remember, school officials in Parkland, Florida chose to ignore expert advise that would actually have made students safer. In fact, the school essentially AIDED the shooter through their inaction.

I've often quipped that sending your child to public schools might be akin to child abuse. That seems to be moving ever-closer to the truth.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Five O'Clock Friday: It's a Solemnity!

Catholics will understand.



Happy Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Repost: Something Must Be Done

I wrote this post several years ago after the Sandy Hook School killings. It resurfaced in my logs after showing up in somebody's search results recently and getting a bunch of fresh hits. The specific incidents have have changed. The anger I feel towards those who insist on creating defenseless victims remains. It's sad that we've learned so little since.

Reposted from December 15, 2012.

Again, the face of evil has again reared its ugly head. Just days after a tragic mall shooting that left three dead, a deranged gunman has left a trail of 27 bodies in Newtown, Connecticut. And once again, we are reminded how helpless we have allowed ourselves to become against such evil. Even before the bodies were removed from the elementary school, the blood dancers were demanding further restrictions on our natural rights to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The president put on his thespian costume to go on TV to shed crocodile tears over the dead children. (All the while cheerfully planning for continued tax money for Planned Parenthood, who killed around 900 children that same day.) The protesters lined the street in front of the White House, NOT to mourn the dead but to demand further restrictions be imposed on innocent citizens.

The president called for "meaningful action" to prevent these tragedies from occurring. Yet, he and others like him bear responsibility for setting so many innocents up for slaughter. They created the "gun free zones" that attracted the deranged individuals. Mass shootings at shopping malls, movie theaters, churches, and schools all have one thing in common. Law-abiding citizens are denied the ability to defend themselves. Dim-witted lawmakers and dependent voters made sure the criminals had free reign for their heinous deeds. A few years ago after a man killed two police officers, VA Senator Saslaw introduced a bill to prevent citizens from taking guns into police stations. The gunman had no issue with current laws against murdering police officers, so just how much of an idiot do you have to be to think he'll be bothered by a "no guns allowed" sign on the door.

Yet, that is just the sort of brain-dead thought that passes for logic among the "gun control" crowd. They want special restrictions on weapons they have superficially labeled "assault weapons." Their designation is based merely on what the inanimate object looks like. The appearance of the weapon has nothing to do with the destruction for which an evil person might use it. The 9/11 bombers carried nothing more than box cutters to carry out their murderous deeds. MinYingjun used a knife to injure 23 school children in China. The common factor among these deeds is not the weapon used. In Connecticut, Oregon, Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and other places, the commonality is the presence of people intent on doing evil and a defenseless victim pool.

So yes, I agree with the president, we need "meaningful action." In fact, I demand meaningful action. It is time for the American public to stand up and demand that our defensive rights not be limited. The lawmakers and the people who support them are complicit in the deaths of these innocent children. It is they who insist that the innocent be left unprotected and vulnerable. In the words of Stewart Rhodes, Founder of Oath Keepers,
This shooting is yet another tragic example of the failed, grotesque insistence on helpless victim zones where any crazed gunman can be assured of a large number of disarmed, undefended, helpless victims, all crammed into one place, where he can kill many children before an armed defender arrives from elsewhere.  It is disturbing and sick that the federal government so hates the right of the American people to bear arms, and so hates their natural right to self defense, that the government insists on making them helpless, disarmed victims for anyone who cares to kill them.   And in this case, all of the teachers and staff were willfully disarmed by the Federal Government, by force of law and threat of prison, to ensure that they would be disarmed and incapable of saving the lives of the children entrusted to their care.
How many more people must die before the American people stand up and demand an end to victim disarmament zones? Like sheep being led to slaughter, we stand idly by, letting dishonest and hypocritical politicians get away with providing support to killers. These same politicians demand armed protection for themselves and their families. The Brady group, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, The Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and others of their ilk scream out for more "gun control." They focus on an object, and play on the irrational fears of others to create more innocent victims. It's time to face the obvious. It is not the weapon that is the issue. We cannot deny that evil exists. What we can do is stop cooperating with evil by keeping people defenseless.

It's is indeed time for meaningful action. It is time to allow people to be armed and cease creating feel-good "sensitive areas" where you and your children are sitting ducks. No one knows if an armed citizen in any of the recent tragedies could have stopped the killers. What is obvious is that NO ONE was even allowed the option. It's also obvious that the killing locations were chosen because of the concentration of defenseless victims. These killers are cowards. Like all criminals, they choose their victims because they can't or won't fight back. Responsible citizens need to stop merely trying to save the gun-related rights we still have. The time is now be on the offensive, and demand an end to restrictions of our God-given rights. Responsible citizens must be allowed the right to defend themselves EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE, without restriction. Government and law enforcement cannot and will not protect us.

I'll say it right now and clearly. If you are the type of person who utters calls for "gun control" you are complicit in making these tragedies possible. If you want "reasonable restrictions" on the types of weapons I can own, you are complicit in assuring the criminals have an advantage. If you continue to support "gun free" zones, you are showing you don't care if me or my family are defenseless against perpetrators of evil. I consider those who try to restrict my right to self-defense, in any manner, just as much of a danger to my safety and the lives of my loved ones as the psycho who would attack them.

Yes, I am angry. I am angry that these innocents have lost their lives. I am angry that families are mourning. And I am angry that our government demanded that they be left open for slaughter. If someone wants to go about life with no more than a "hope" that violence never finds them, that is their choice. I pray every morning that I will not need to defend my life that day, and I pray every night in thanks that I did not. But I will not leave my loved ones at risk to assuage the weaknesses and phobias of others. The right to self defense and the right to defend our children from harm is God-given and cannot be taken away or limited by any man or government.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Virginia Church Self Defense Ban

Virginia has fairly decent laws regarding the carrying of firearms for self defense. Other than needing to pay a tax in order to exercise your 2nd Amendment right, it's moderately easy to get a VA Concealed Handgun Permit. However, according to some on the left, your right of self defense is abrogated if you happen to be praying at the time the need arises. These are the same mental midgets who claim that school "gun free zones" prevent school shootings. The Virginia Citizens Defense League is taking on the ridiculous prohibition on carrying a gun during a religious service.

We need to repeal the Jim Crow era Blue-law that forbids a person from having a weapon **in a place of worship, during a service.** (18.2-283).

While the General Assembly is not currently in session, and won't be in session again until January, we can use this time to build up steam for the repeal next year!

ACTION ITEM #1

Starting NOW, and for the rest of the year, we need to be educating faith leaders, and the public, about the church-service weapon ban and to get as many people as we can onboard in helping us to accomplish the repeal. It would be great to flood the Governor and the General Assembly with phone calls, emails, and letters all summer long. (VCDL will also be distributing postcards to the Governor at gun shows all year.)

Don't assume that faith leaders and your friends haven't fallen for the other side's lie that repealing 18.2-283 negates any church leader's right to make decisions about guns on their property. To win this we need to educate as many people as we can to the facts and truth.

To that extent, I have a copy of a letter from Delegate Dave LaRock, who put in the 18.2-283 repeal bill for VCDL earlier this year. His letter, and my cover letter, can be printed out and handed to faith leaders or distributed to your fellow worshipers, friends, family, and coworkers. The link to the letter can also be emailed instead:

https://vcdl.org/resources/pdf/2018_03_02_Church_Service_Ban_Letter.pdf

ACTION ITEM #2

Here's VCDL's webpage on the repeal, with ACTION ITEMS for contacting the Governor and the General Assembly:

https://vcdl.org/repeal_church_ban

Although a former VA Attorney General posited that self-defense was a legitimate reason for being armed in a church, the legal question is far from settled. Bad things happen in church too. The doors of your church are not talisman against violence. It is foolhardy to not be prepared.

Share this with your priest, your pastor, your rabbi and any other religious leaders and friends.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Local Craft Beer Cup Winners

The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild announced the 2018 Virginia Craft Beer Cup Winners earlier this week. The result of judging 375 beers, the winners list includes many old favorites, as well as some new additions to my "must try" list.

Of particular interest to me, a few Fredericksburg area breweries took home medals.

European Dark and Strong Lager Category
Third Place: Beer Hound Brewery for Zoeie

Dark and Strong British Beer Category
Second Place: Adventure Brewing Company for Black Sail Scotch Ale

European Sour Ale Category
First Place: Red Dragon Brewery for Here Be Dragons
Third Place: Strangeways Brewing for Uberlin

Pale American Ale Category
First Place: 6 Bears and a Goat for Mae West

Of course, you'll want to check out the entire Virginia Craft Beer Cup Winners here to see how your favorite Virginia breweries fared.

Congratulations to all the medal winners. There are some great beers coming out of Virginia!

Kitchen Scene

We had a contractor doing some work in the kitchen recently. He did his work quietly and quickly. After he had gone, I noticed the scene at the kitchen sink.


My life isn't exactly "gray" thanks to this blog, and I do have gun-themed license plates on my car. It appears my kitchen is an open book too. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Range Trip

Various life stuff got in the way of a range trip last week, and then Saturday's much anticipated match was cancelled due to weather. As such I was anxious to hit the range, so as soon as my last conference call was over on Monday I made a beeline for the door. I arrived at the range a little later than I usually do and seven or eight other shooters were there, all shooting rifles. There was also a very young girl shooting a pink .22 rifle with her dad. That was heartwarming to see.

My intent for this trip was to shoot slow fire at some longer distances. I stuck a couple of black target posters on my targets to act as aiming points. I started at 10 yards, an worked my way out to 20. I was pretty pleased my shooting, despite my inability to actually shoot all that slow, and found myself speeding up and running two, three or four shot strings. With my uncorrected distance vision, the pasters pretty much disappear beyond 12 yards.

15 yards

I'm no bullseye shooter but I found the results acceptable. One interesting observation,  the mere 10 inches or so between my aiming points made a difference in the hits, out to 15 yards. The groups, such as they are, were consistently tighter on the upper spot. It made me think of recent matches where I've shot well on shoulder high steel plates, while shooting less accurately on the ground level poppers. Too much practice with eye-level targets perhaps? I'll have to look at how low I can hang my targets on a future trip.

The session ended with a few magazines of SHO and WHO shooting at a closer distance. Despite using just a small portion of the targets, I refreshed them frequently for better analysis of the hits. As such I had a significant stack of paper stabled to the cardboard when I finished, and ended up covering my shirt with paper bits when I pulled them off. It was like "confetti" in celebration of a fruitful outing.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

FBI Agent NDD in Denver Nightclub

Negligent Dance Discharge.  An off-duty FBI agent was enjoying himself a little too much this weekend when he decided to do a backflip while carrying his weapon. That was his first mistake. His second mistake was failing to use a holster with proper retention. The final blunder was sticking his finger on the trigger when retrieving his gun. I'm pretty sure the FBI teaches you not to do that. An innocent partron of the club was shot in the lower leg as a result.




Despite the headlines calling this an accidental discharge, this was no accident. It's amazing how reporters and law enforcement like to avoid that reality. I heard one report that stated the agent "somehow accidentally fired the gun." This was pure negligence, there's just no dancing around that. (Heh)

UPDATE, June 7: The guy: Chase Bishop: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

'Twas a Rainy Saturday

Saturday plans were rained out. The IDPA match I was very much looking forward to was cancelled. After careful consideration, I opted out of doing brewery visits since I didn't feel like driving through the predicted heavy rains. (And I saw reports of numerous accidents around the area.) So I did this...


My son had come home for the weekend to go to a local event with friends. That event that was also cancelled. On the plus side, we had an enjoyable day just visiting.

Sunday looks to be even wetter. I'll be catching up on some reading.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

"Hey coyote, put that down!"

We live in a rural neighborhood bordered by National Park Service lands which are preserved from development. As a result there's an abundance of wildlife still to be found, and enjoyed, in the area. Many of the folks who move in come from more urban areas, where the wild animals are only found in cages.

This comment was recently posted on the neighborhood forum...
"Sorry to share this but I just saw a coyote carrying a cat in its mouth. I tried to intervene but I was too far away to make a difference."
I have to wonder what sort of "intervention" she have in mind? Did this good samaritan expect to wrestle the kitten carcass from the coyote?

Maybe she watched too many cartoons as a kid.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Five O'Clock Friday: Just. Stop. Raining.

Please. I have plans this weekend.


The IDPA match I planned to shoot on Saturday has already been cancelled due to expected storms. Perhaps I'll hit the pub instead.

H/T Wirecutter for the pic.

ATF Agent Shoots Pet on Playground

Dogs sometimes fight. Fortunately, those folks are rarely serious and sensible humans can usually separate them without undo risk. Unless you happen to be an ATF agent walking his dog on a school playground. In that case, the interaction can turn deadly in a hurry.

SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE, Va. - A dog owner said an off-duty ATF agent fatally shot his mastiff puppy outside of a middle school in Spotsylvania County.

Vance Gibbs said he brings his dogs to a large field at Ni River Middle School several times a week. However, he is now traumatized after he watched his 8-month-old Presa Canario mastiff puppy Ari die in his arms.

Gibbs said it happened when he and his four puppies and three adult mastiffs were enjoying some exercise on the field Tuesday night. A golden retriever off a leash ran up to them while his dogs, which were on leashes but running free, chased after it.

The dogs then started fighting and Gibbs said he threw himself into the middle trying to get his dogs away. Meanwhile, he said the owner of the golden retriever pulled out a gun and fired twice into the ground, and then a third time hitting Ari in the side. She died minutes later.

There was plenty of irresponsible dog ownership on both side here, and both parties share in the guilt. That said, the trigger-happy ATF agent seems to have exhibited little concern for innocent bystanders. The dogs were fighting each other, not threatening people. The pet owner claims the agent brandished his gun in an earlier incident as well.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Killer Technology

Well, not quite, but to read the hype one would think killer robots were walking the streets shooting their human creators. Some guy hooked up an airsoft gun and a solenoid to a Google Home and shot an apple off a pedestal. I'm hardly impressed.

This crude robotic William Tell provides, in the words of the CNET reporter, "A glimpse into a future, maybe, where autonomous weapons could theoretically mow people down."


Liberal heads exploding in three, two, one...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cavalier IDPA Memorial Weekend Match

The monthly IDPA match at Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club was held this past Saturday. The new shooting bays at the club are finally (almost) finished and this was the first IDPA match to be held in them. I was looking forward to seeing the new setup. Along with the new facilities, the monthly match has moved to the fourth Saturday.

The new facilities are quite nice. It is my understanding that even more new shooting bays are planned. In addition to the change in bays and the day, the weather was fittingly different. Instead of the rain that has plagued so many matches of late, the sun shown bright and warm. It wasn't too long after I arrived that I regretted being one of the few shooters opting for long pants. I'm slow to "convert" my planning to summer. (I also noted my sunburned neck the next morning.) Suffice to say, it got hot, fast.



Five stages were set up in the new bays. I found all of the stages to be interesting and fun, not to mention challenging. Even the "simpler" stages were not as straightforward as they looked and we were really forced to think about strategy and stage planning.

Stage 1 consisted of two quick, 8 round strings. For the first string our unload gun and magazines were on a bench in front of us. Loading the gun, we retreated to find a target to each side through a narrow opening. Backing up further, there were two more targets, one on each side around a barrel. When I shot the stage, my brain swapped the targets to be shot, and I hesitated in getting into position. I also took a makeup shot I didn't need, which hit a non-threat. For the second string, we shot four close targets from a seated position.



The second stage we shot offered an interesting twist; all magazines were downloaded to six rounds, the unloaded gun and magazines were staged on a barrel, AND all magazines were to be left at the start position and not stowed on the belt at any time. There was a target right in front of the start position, and two more targets were on either side of the stage, only one visible at each shooting position, for a total of five targets each requiring three shots each. Most shooters opted for a tactical reload after the first target, a slide lock reload after the first two targets (with an extra shot on one), grabbing a reload off the barrel on the way to the last two targets which were then engaged with no make up shots available. It was a fun stage to shoot, and my best of the match with zero points down.



The next two stages took advantage of the new, larger bays. Stage 3 had us hitting near and far targets from opposite ends of a wide wall. Even on the long shots from cover I felt good about my shooting, finishing 4 points down. Stage 4 was shot while moving down a hallway across the bay, turning the corner and crossing back the other direction. Targets were found all along the way. A couple steel targets kept dodging my bullets, but I finished the stage just 3 points down, even if it took extra time to complete.

The final stage was an interesting standards stage, though some of us had a difficult time grasping the concept initially. There were three targets set on either side, and four steel targets downrange. All targets had to be shot from the shooting boxes, reloads were only allowed at slide lock, and targets had to be shot in priority, near to far. Targets could be engaged from any of the shooting boxes where they were visible, as long as the priority rule was followed. One could leave further targets for closer boxes, and but could not skip a close target to shoot a further one. (It was probably not as complicated as my mind made it.)



Once I figured out my plan, I felt good about shooting the stage. Unfortunately it didn't come off as well as planned. On the second target, I (thought) I saw one -0 hit and the second hole low, partially on hard cover but still in the scoring zone. When it was scored, it turned out that both shots were low, one totally in hard cover. What I saw as a good hit was actually a shadow from a loose paster. I also struggled with the final steel popper. Still, an interesting and fun stage.

This was a very fun match, even if I didn't shoot as well as I would have liked. I finished smack dab in the middle of the pack; 23rd of 45 overall, 9th of 18 in SSP, and 2nd of 3 in SSP EX. In addition to a HNT and a miss on a close target, I felt like was just trying to go too fast. However, in reviewing the posted scores, my raw times were actually on the slow side. That can to some extent be attributed to a bit of poor stage planning, and some unusual difficulty with a couple of the steel targets. Despite all that, it was a really fun match, and I still would rather be shooting, even if poorly, than not shooting at all! On a positive note, I have some plans for my next practice day.

Many more pictures from the morning are posted here.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Budweiser Freedom Reserve

That's right, I said Budweiser. Anheuser-Busch has released a limited edition Amber Ale for the summer. Freedom Reserve Red Lager is said to have been inspired by a beer recipe written by George Washington himself. Washington's recipe for small beer made use of readily available molasses for the fermentable ingredient instead of malted grains, which were scarce at the time. To create the tie-in with the Founding Father, the brewers at Anheuser-Busch used molasses in their beer to give it sweetness. Washington's original hand-written recipe can be found in the New York Public Library.

While the addition of molasses may offer a thin "inspired by" tag line, the brewery is also using the beer to do good. A portions of the proceeds from the sales of Freedom Reserve are being donated to Folds of Honor, and organization that provides scholarships to the spouses and children of injured or fallen American soldiers.


Intrigued by the beer and its story, we picked up a six pack of the stubby bottles to try it out. The beer pours a deep amber with a frothy, but short-lived beige head. A very mild sweet caramel aroma is detected. The malt-forward flavor brings sweet caramel, toasted grain, and a touch of molasses. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin and there's a lingering sweetness in the finish.

Although it's not a "small beer" like its inspiration, it still checks in at a moderate 5.6% ABV. Overall, I found Freedom Reserver flavorful and quite drinkable. I certainly won't hesitate to finish the rest of the six pack. Available through September, Freedom Reserver Red Lager turned out to be a surprising, but acceptable option for summer enjoyment.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Honoring The Fallen

On this long Memorial Day weekend, Americans stop to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. It is their sacrifices that helped to preserve the freedoms we cherish and enjoy today.


Sadly, there are too many people in our country who take freedom for granted, or who naively despise the blessings of liberty. Worse yet, there are those who actively work to limit our freedom. As we pause to remember our lost heroes, may we also vow to be steadfast in our opposition of those who wish to destroy that which has been so painfully won.

As you enjoy time with family and friends over this weekend, please take a moment to remember those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Took the Shockwave to the Range

I finally got around to to hitting the range with that Mossberg M590 Shockwave I won in the drawing at the Chesapeake Cup in February. In all honesty, I've been avoiding it to some degree. I wasn't really sure how to shoot the thing, and have spent a lot of time viewing videos online and dry firing in front of a mirror. Now a bit more confident, I took it down to Winding Brook for some live fire.

Confirming the range allowed the gun to be shot, I was reminded that only "aimed fire" was permitted, no shooting from the hip. I had assumed that already, and in fact what I had planned. I had brought along a mix of 00 buckshot and slugs, the only shotgun ammo the range permits.

With the target at five yards, I loaded a round of the 00 Buckshot. I noticed that a second RO had appeared behind me, presumably to confirm my safety and obedience. I was pleased to see the shot pattern pretty well centered on the target, with the wad hole off to the right. A second shot found better placement. I then moved to the slugs. For each shot, I loaded a single round in the gun. I didn't want to have to unload if I decided I had had enough. The next few shots started drifting high and left; I think I was starting to think too much about the gun's relation to my face — even though I was having no issues — and pushing the grip out.



After a few more practice rounds, I bagged the shotgun and switched to the handgun, shooting the SIG P320. I shot another 150 rounds with the pistol, at 7 - 15 yards, and was pretty much at my limit of endurance. However, I still had a some loose shotgun slugs left in my bag, so I opted to destroy my pistol target with a few more shots from the Shockwave.

It was a short session. Literally. When I got back to my car I realized I had only spent about 30 minutes total in the range. No wonder I was tired! The Mossberg Shockwave was not overly difficult to shoot. I'd even call it fun to a point. I need a lot more practice before I would consider myself prepared to rely on it for home self defense. I am also reminded that it's been a long time since I did any shotgun work, so maybe it's time...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Morning Music

Not much in the way of blog-worthy events of late. So we'll just enjoy some Monday blues...



At least we're counting down to a three day weekend!

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 (https://criminallawyermaryland.net/maryland-gun-lawyer/transporting/ )

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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Virginia Breweries Win at World Beer Cup

The World Beer Cup competition is held every two years. In this year's event, 8,234 beers representing 2,515 breweries were judged. Of the 302 medals awarded, five went to Virginia breweries.

Category: Irish-Style Red Ale
Gold Medal: Bald Irishman, Center of the Universe Brewing - Origin Beer Lab, Ashland, VA

Category: German-Style Altbier
Silver Medal: Alt Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp, Roseland, VA

Category: Robust Porter
Silver Medal: Porter, Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, VA

Category: Session Beer
Silver Medal: Session Pale Ale, Center of the Universe Brewing, Ashland, VA

Category: Baltic-Style Porter
Bronze Medal: Danzig, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA

The only one of these I have not had is Bald Irishman, from Center of the Universe's sister research and development brewery, Origin Beer Lab. With a name like that, it seems like my kind of beer. Since the beer is released annually for St. Patrick's Day, I may have to wait to try it out.

Congratulations to all the winners for keeping Virginia brewing on the world stage.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Test Chicken

Sacrificing the proverbial chicken to test the domain name changes.